ISLAMABAD: After having paid more than Rs13 billion in 1995, about 5,000 people are still waiting for the allotment of their plots. The project, Islamabad New City, was initiated by three foreign companies in collaboration with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the National Housing Authority (NHA). Spread over 2,000 kanals of land, the project would have been a mega-housing project in Zone-V of the capital.
Various local companies, including Asif Enterprises, were tasked with collecting money from the people for the project.
The three foreign companies, including MG Realters Pvt Ltd, MG Heartz Pvt Ltd and Asia Challenge Investment Pvt Ltd, packed up and left the country with billions of rupees after the democratically elected government was overthrown in 1999.
Since then CDA, NHA, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Asif Enterprises and other representatives of the people have convened several times to try and find a solution to the problem, but in vain. The last meeting was held on February 18, 2009, said Ahmad Arsalan, an advocate.
Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) revoked the membership of the three foreign companies in 2006. In the same year, a group of affectees, SECP, Asif Enterprises and other stakeholders registered a case with the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the defaulters. The progress of the case was slow and marred by several delays.
A group of affectees have also alleged that “influential authorities” were behind the fraud and impeding the progress of the case. The LHC has not scheduled a hearing over the past year. The judge hearing the case back then, Hamid Ali Shah, was relieved of his charge when emergency order promulgated by former president Pervez Musharraf was declared null and void on July 31 last year.
Many of the parties involved seem to be unsure of how to proceed with the case. CDA’s spokesperson Ramzan Sajjid said the project was “a typical fraud”. He added: “It is a hard nut to crack. I hope that the courts will give justice to affectees as well as the city managers.”
Javed Akbar, a senior official at NHA and spokesperson, said, “It is the most complicated case. As far as I remember, NHA still has to give the relevant records of the project to the court.”
Former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) spokesperson Ghazni Khan (now transferred to Ministry of Information) said NAB was only helping CDA and NHA with the case. He added: “All stakeholders decided in the [last] meeting that Asif Enterprises will develop this project with CDA, which will provide all the technical input in the development of the proposed project.”
Meanwhile affectees wait for some positive development. Arshad Saleem, a clerk in National Assembly, paid Rs0.2 million to Asia Challenge Investment Pvt Ltd for a plot. “I am still looking for justice,” he told The Express Tribune.
Amir Ahmed, another affectee who had to take a loan to book a plot in Islamabad New City, blamed the governments of Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League for the issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2010.
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