Government employees who have rented out their government accommodations can expect to face the music after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday ordered the estate office to cancel their allotments and registered criminal cases against both, allottees and tenants.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui directed the estate office to take action against violators and submit a comprehensive report on June 2. The court also ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to remove additional extensions to houses made by different allottees.
The court noted that employees who have sublet government accommodation must be punished. The court passed the order in response to a petition filed by Akhtar Ali, a resident of government quarter situated in Sector G-7/2, who has requested the court to restrain Adnan Zafar, the spouse of the allottee.
Naming the housing secretary, estate officer, Muhammad Ashraf, Aabpara police station house officer, Citizen-Police Coordination Committee members Tariq Mahmood Baig and Azhar Iqbal, and Zafar as respondents, the petitioner informed the court that he has been renting a portion of House-3/4-E, Street 13, Sector G-7/2 for a number of years. The house was allotted to Zafar’s wife, government employee Sadia Yaqoob. Ali stated that Zafar disconnected the utilities for his house after a dispute with him. He said he has been paying monthly rent of Rs7,000 for the house, and that Yaqoob is currently residing abroad.
The petitioner’s counsel maintained that few months back, a dispute was settled by members of the police coordination committee. However, Zafar disconnected the electricity and water connections for Ali’s portion again in violation of their agreement.
He claimed that he had approached the court because the committee was unable to resolve the issue.
Tip of the iceberg
About 50 cases relating to illegal allotments and falsified ownership of government housing are pending in various courts, while many other cases are being probed by the Federal Investigation Authority.
Last month, an estate office official told parliament that 19,000 applications are in the general waiting list because government housing was rarely awarded on merit. The same official said that about 3,000 government houses in the capital are under illegal occupation.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2014.
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