Senate body gives 60 days to resolve PTDC land issue

Slams govt for ‘failing to ensure ownership rights’


Shabbir Hussain March 08, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Functional Committee on Devolution has given 60 days to the authorities concerned for resolving the prolonged issue of 172 acres of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) land occupied by a private firm at Gadani Fish Harbour.

The committee, which met on Thursday under the chairmanship of Maula Bux Chandio discussed the transfer of PTDC land to a private company having the petitioner in the meeting.

It was stated that the petitioner was subjected to injustice and called for addressing the reservations of the company in a proper manner. The federal government failed to ensure ownership rights, it highlighted.

The committee expressed that it would extend its support to the petitioner if the federal government did not address the reservations and the petitioner would be summoned again. The petitioner would also be able to present the report of the committee’s decision to the Supreme Court.

The petitioner maintained that his company was working on the land since 2002 and a lot of development work had been completed. “We have purchased the land from the Balochistan government. We have not encroached upon it,” it was stressed.

The petitioner argued that after working so many years, the provincial government informed that the land belonged to the PTDC and it was mistakenly sold. On this, the company pursued courts to settle the matter.

Later, the PTDC published the invitation for tenders in newspapers for the sale of the land through the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA). The petitioner said that his company won the tender after making the highest bid and awarded the letter.

The company was also informed that final approval for the land would be given by the prime minister (PM).

“Now what should we do now,” the petitioner asked and underscored that the matter is due for the commission. The Senate committee has also given its verdict in the company’s favour.

However, the problem was that the decisions were not being implemented. “What wrong have we done? If a mistake has been done, it is the fault of the government departments”.

The additional secretary of the cabinet division said that the land belonged to the federal government.

To this, committee chairman questioned if it was Centre’s property then where was it when a huge amount of development work was being carried out on the land.

In this prolonged time, the matter was referred to the court and also to the Senate committee, he said adding that the court directed the committee to give the verdict.

Chandio asked that it should be known why such a committee was not formed.

The additional secretary said that a summary has been sent to the PM proposing the formation of the committee.

Reacting to this, the chairman said that he refused Pakistan Peoples Party leader Raza Rabbani’s advice of referring the case to National Accountability Bureau or Federal Investigation Agency.

Senator Gen (retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi maintained that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment the subject of tourism has been devolved to the provinces so the assets should also be given to the provinces.

He added that the only solution was to hand over the PTDC assets to the provinces.

After this, provinces should decide for themselves regarding such matters.

Committee members were of the view that the departments handed over to the provinces through the amendment have been re-operating with different names for the federal government, which is constitutionally unjustified.

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