Foreign ministry officers who lost their money in a National Logistic Cell (NLC) housing scheme have decided to approach senior army officials for relief.
“We will approach the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army through the proper channel,” an aggrieved official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity. “We will take up the matter with the foreign secretary, requesting that the issue be discussed with the military high command in Rawalpindi.”
The former foreign secretary Salman Bashir was about to initiate talks with the GHQ upon the officers’ request, but his retirement delayed the issue.
The officers demand the return of their money that the NLC had collected from them for residential plots in its housing scheme in Islamabad. The housing scheme failed due to a lack of proper township planning by the NLC.
The officers paid around Rs240 million to the NLC at the rate of Rs350,000 per kanal. The idea for the foreign office housing scheme was floated as a welfare project for foreign ministry officers in 2006.
Last January, the NLC was reportedly willing to return the amount in easy installments. But it was not in a position to set a deadline for the process of reimbursement. The officers found that proposal unacceptable as they doubted the NLC’s sincerity. The matter remained unresolved as the NLC refused to reply to letters by the frustrated officers who demanded their hard earned money back.
The victims are also considering approaching the Supreme Court of Pakistan as another option, in case the new foreign secretary, Jalil Abbas Jilani, failed to secure their interests.
Many of the aggrieved officers are no longer insisting that the invested amount be returned with interest. They are willing to give up their earlier demand provided they are paid the total amount immediately, said an official.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2012.