RR affectees to become party in NAB reference

Demand govt not put project on backburner again


Our Correspondent May 20, 2021
Map shows the new alignment of the proposed Rawalpindi Ring Road Project. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:

The affectees of the Ring Road project have demanded the government to not put the road project on the backburner again.

They have also announced becoming a party in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference against alleged corruption in the Ring Road project.

In a presser held on Wednesday, Ring Road coordination committee Chairman Raja Aijaz and other officials claimed that the project had been made controversial and that an impression of corruption emerged that would put the project on the backburner once again.

The officials said that if the project was halted, it would incur serious losses on the landowners who had sold their properties at throwaway prices.

They added that most of the people have not received their payments while they have lost possession of lands as well.

Rejecting the inquiry report on alleged corruption in the Ring Road project, the coordination committee announced becoming a party in the NAB reference.

They demanded completion of the project at all costs. They said that the project had been delayed unnecessarily for the past three decades for corruption. The affectees vowed that they would not let this happen this time.

Two days ago, a top aide of the prime minister stepped down and another cried foul hours after the national graft-buster decided to open an inquiry into alleged anomalies in a multimillion-dollar infrastructure project in Rawalpindi in which the pair have been named.

The alignment of the 65-kilometre Rawalpindi Ring Road (RRR) was illegally changed this year to benefit several private housing projects, according to fact-finding reports which were commissioned to find out alleged illegalities, corruption and conflict of interest in the project.

The real estate developers who allegedly benefited from the RRR realignment included Nova City, Capital Smart City, New Airport City/Al Asif Housing, Top City, SAS Developers, Blue World and Islamabad Capital Housing Society.

The opposition demanded action against those who had approved the realignment, saying that neither Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Prime Minister Imran Khan nor the “direct beneficiaries” like Zulfikar Bukhari, the special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, and Ghulam Sarwar Khan, the federal aviation minister, should be spared.

PML-N’s Deputy Secretary General Attaullah Tarar has alleged that Sarwar and Bokhari hugely benefitted from the realignment because their lands were located on the revised route.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2021.

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