The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is in possession of a list of 172 journalists who were given plots in the federal capital in line with their two per cent quota in G-13 and G-14 sectors.
The five-year-old list has now been submitted to Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, after he had ordered the housing ministry to submit the list of plots allotted to bureaucrats, judges, politicians, and journalists since 1996.
The list of judges, bureaucrats and politicians has already been submitted and partially carried by The Express Tribune last week. The PAC was also told just how Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had allotted plots to 16 judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan during 2008-2010 under the “PM Special Assistance” package. Another list submitted before the PAC also revealed that 14 judges of the SC had acquired two plots from the government in violation of the policy after giving two affidavits to testify that they did not have any plot in Islamabad.
Meanwhile, eyebrows are being raised as to why Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan did not order the defence ministry to provide a similar list detailing names of military generals who were allotted agricultural lands and plots in the DHA. Now a question is being asked as to why Nisar only preferred to seek lists of SC judges, politicians, bureaucrats and journalists from the housing and works ministry and why the powerful military elite were let off the hook.
But the list of Islamabad-based journalists, who were allotted flats in G-8 Markaz on the orders of then prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has not been submitted to the Public Accounts Committee. The names of those top journalists of Islamabad still remain undisclosed, as the ministry of housing and works said it was not in the possession of the list of journalists as the scheme was being launched and monitored by a separate body represented both by government officials and journalistic bodies.
The PAC has been informed that some 1,000 journalists of Islamabad had applied for plots after the government launched new sectors in Islamabad and invited applications from the general public, government servants and others as part of a uniform policy to give plots to those who were permanently living in Islamabad and did not have any property. A two per cent quota was also fixed for Islamabad-based journalists. A high-powered committee comprising government officials and senior journalists was formed which after careful scrutiny of the applicants, had recommended names of 172 journalists who were given plots against payments.
The list is available here.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2010.