Rawalpindi Commissioner and Ring Road fact-finding committee convenor Gulzar Hussain Shah has sent his reply to the Punjab government on the dissenting note of former deputy commissioner (DC) Anwarul Haq on Tuesday.
Former DC had sent a 14-page long dissenting notice on alleged corruption charges in the project’s fact-finding report to the Punjab government.
The official had termed the benefits from the project’s change in alignment as a natural coincidence and refuted the allegations of kickbacks and corruption for this purpose. It must be mentioned that Haq had not signed the fact-finding report.
Sources informed The Express Tribune that Shah has sent a 17-page reply to the Punjab government on the dissenting note of the ex-DC. He noted that Haq disputed with the report's findings but he did not point out any rules or regulations to prove his point.
The commissioner maintained that ex-commissioner Muhammad Mehmood had colluded with a powerful real estate group for rent sacking under which the alignment of the Ring Road was changed.
The convenor stated that the project concept (PC) 1 was approved without taking the Punjab government in confidence, adding that it was the first project whose PC 1 was approved without the approval of its alignment as well as being advertised.
Sources further said that the incumbent commissioner claimed that the regulations were not taken into account while purchasing land for the Ring Road project and for setting the price of lands that were acquired.
He wrote that the Ring Road project was exclusively for Rawalpindi but the Attock loop was added to it without getting approval from any forum.
The commissioner claimed that the ex-project director flouted the rules of the public-private partnership authority and alleged that the interchange on the Morat spot was made part of the project to benefit private housing societies.
He wrote that the project director could not exclusively contact a third party according to the rules while it was also important to implement all guidelines before making changes part of the public policy document.
Shah maintained that issuance of advertisement was requisite to provide equal chances to all parties, however, alleged that some specific real estate players were benefited from the project.
He said that the ex-DC had a conflict of interest with the ex-project director, owing to which the former wrote a dissenting note.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2021.