Building a mystery

Hafeez Tunio May 17, 2010

SUKKUR: A partnered project of Abdul Qayuum Qureshi, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz member and known personality from Sukkur, and Ghauri Builders and Developers has hit the doldrums.

After signing an agreement in 2007 to build a shopping mall, Hina Plaza, at Shikarpur Road on the National Highway, the partners advertised for booking. About 100 people booked flats and shops in the plaza in 2007, spending Rs600,000 for each booking.

After the collection reached Rs60 million, the owner of the land and partners in the construction project developed a conflict. Three years after the project, Qureshi discovered that a cheque for Rs20 million given to him for the land by Ghauri Builders in 2007, had bounced.

The partners have now registered cases of fraud against each other. Qureshi has filed that Ghauri Builders are involved in a scam and deceived him, while the builders have filed that Qureshi was not allowing them to build according to the contractual agreement signed in 2007.

Meanwhile, the people who have invested their savings by booking plots cannot do anything as their money is stuck in the ‘quarrel’.

One of them, Saira Javed, had invested Rs600,000 as a ‘shareholder’ and was promised Rs15,000 every month. For the last three months, she has received nothing. “I have paid 70 per cent of the allotted amount to Ghauri Builders and Developers, but they haven’t completed the project and they are not even returning our money,” she said while talking to The Express Tribune.

According to officials, the builders not only owe money to the people, they also owe Rs8 million to Rehman Marketing Company who marketed the project and helped book around 170 flats and 70 shops. “We collected around Rs40 million after the booking of the flats and shops and handed over the money to the builder.

However, he refused to pay us our commission,” said Sohail Raza, owner of Rehman Marketing Company. Another buyer, Ahmed, told The Express Tribune that he had booked the category ‘B’ flat after paying Rs750,000 in 2007. He was to be given the possession of the flat after three years. “But there seems no chance now as even the basic construction has not started,” Ahmed said, adding that two FIRs had been lodged.

“One case has been registered at the SITE police station, Sukkur, on behalf of the land owner, Abdul Qayuum Qureshi and another was registered by the project’s estate agent,” he said.

As the two partners have filed civil court cases, nothing can be done about the sub judice property for some time.

Qureshi, while talking to The Express Tribune said that as the owner of the land, he sold two acres to the builder, Saifullah Khan Ghauri, for the project and according to their 2007 agreement, he was promised a 50 per cent share in the profit.

“The total cost of the land is Rs40 million and being a partner, the builder had to pay me Rs20 million,” he explained. According to Qureshi, Ghauri issued him a bounced cheque.

However, Ghauri said, he and his family left for Canada because his relative was suffering from a severe disease, which delayed the project. “There is nothing wrong if the project gets delayed. It happens everywhere.”

Rejecting the allegations, he said that his company had paid more than Rs8 million to Qureshi. “Some days ago Qureshi, along with gunmen ransacked our office and stole our valuables. We have also lodged a case against him and now it’s for the court to decide,” he said.

Express News tried to contact DPO Sukkur, but this office is unwilling to comment.

They are under pressure to not disclose anything as a minister, with a Larkana constituency, has the builders’ back covered. The minister claims Ghauri Builders are like his ‘brothers’.

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