ISLAMABAD: Two provincial ministers and five members of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, who were allotted residential plots in violation of the federal government’s policy, have sold them at a profit, reveals a report.
The prime minister has abolished allotting plots that are part of the auction quota but Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti exercised “provincial autonomy” to help his associates, as all seven of them hail from militancy-hit Swat Valley.
According to official documents, each of them was allotted a 500-square-yard plot in Peshawar’s posh Hayatabad Township. The ministers include provincial minister for science and technology Muhammad Ayub Khan and minister for forests Wajid Ali, while the MPAs are Jafar Shah, Shershah Khan, Waqar Ahmed Khan, Dr Shamsher Khan and Dr Haider Ali. Taking advantage of the situation, Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) Director-General Qazi Laique Ahmed, while acting on the CM’s instructions, allotted a plot for himself as well.
According to the annual report of provincial audit office, those public representatives who could not return home due to security problems in Swat were allotted plots at throwaway prices, who later earned profits by selling them at higher rates. PDA officials, to whom plots were also allotted, sold them too.
Director of the provincial audit office, while objecting to the allotments, pointed out in his report that according to the prime minister’s directives, the federal and provincial discretionary quota of jobs, allotment of plots, admissions to schools and colleges and grants of scholarships had been abolished.
The report says while plots were available in other areas of Peshawar, the beneficiaries were given plots in one of the city’s most posh residential areas. The cost of each plot was approximately Rs8 million, but beneficiaries paid a much lower price. They also did not deposit Rs3.2 million as Capital Value Tax which, the auditor said, was another irregularity on the PDA’s part and caused the government a loss of Rs3.92 million. The PDA officials also evaded the Capital Value Tax, which amounted to Rs4.48 million.
The chief minister also allotted plots to the widows of former deputy inspector general of Peshawar police Malik Saad Khan and former inspector general of Northern Areas police Sakhiullah Khan for free. Both women, the report says, also sold their plots at higher rates.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2010.