By Ali Raza
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Adviser to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Sunday claimed that the government has made recoveries worth Rs210 billion from Punjab over the course of the past two-and-a-half years. He claimed that of the amount, Rs24 billion worth of recoveries were made from 36 PML-N members, from whom 8,085 acres of land was taken back.
“This is the reality behind the hue and cry being raised by the PML-N,” he said, as he addressed a press conference in Islamabad.
Shahzad Akbar said the party was accusing the government of exacting political revenge simply to save their own skins.
He spoke of the land razed by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) where the Khokhar brothers had established “Khokhar Palace”. “They had grabbed land belonging to the government worth Rs1.5 billion,” he said.
The adviser said that besides the recovery from the Khokhars, land worth Rs92.5 million was also taken back from Khurram Dastagir, “which has been turned into a public park”.
Shahzad Akbar said what remains now is for the government to collect “penal rent” worth Rs5 billion.
Discussing further recoveries, he said that land worth Rs7 billion was taken back from Chaudhry Tanveer and 2,400 kanals worth Rs2.5 billion from Daniyal Aziz. Moreover, he said 8 kanals 2 marlas of government land was recovered from Javed Latif; land worth Rs2 billion was taken back from Abid Sher Ali; and 70 acres of land worth millions was also recovered from Maiza Hameed’s husband.
Among other leaders he named are Mudasar Qayum Nahra and Mir Badshah Qaisrani.
Shahzad Akbar said that a common man cannot “occupy government lands” and that these are “powerful people”.
He said these recoveries “were not an easy task” but the Punjab government’s performance over the past two-and-a-half years has been “excellent”.
The premier’s adviser said all the land taken back was either forest land or agricultural and will be put to use for the welfare of the people. He said work is underway to raze an “illegal plaza” in Sialkot, adding that Khawaja Asif “has also occupied a housing society”.
An operation on Sunday was launched in the housing society owned by Khawaja Asif to retrieve occupied land. The authorities concerned said the operation was launched to recover the land reserved for graveyard and parking but occupied by the Kent View Housing Society. The management of the society illegally built a four-storey building on the site, necessitating action from the government. The district administration and municipal corporation officials in the presence of policemen demolished the structures.
Shahzad Akbar, recalling the PML-N’s rule, said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif “promoted Changa Manga politics” and “politics of money” at the time. He said this is why the Supreme Court of Pakistan had used the word “mafia” in its judgment when Nawaz was disqualified.
The premier’s adviser said that if one were to ask Nawaz what his ideology is, “he won’t be able to answer”.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the operation by the Punjab government against a housing society in Sialkot over making building on the land meant for parking and graveyard is a main step towards clutching the land mafia. She said the land mafia will raise hue and cry as and when the government will step action against them.
Meanwhile, the PML-N leaders warned the bureaucracy to abstain from following “illegal” orders of the government otherwise they will have to face a similar fate in future. The PML-N leaders also slammed the government over the report of Transparency International (TI) and stated that the report has blackened the faces of incompetent rulers. They said the PML-N would move the court against revengeful actions of the government.
These views were expressed by PML-N leaders Khawaja Saad Rafique, former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq and Attaullah Tarar during a joint press conference in Lahore.
Saad Rafique said the NAB had not recovered anything. He said the government put names of PML-N workers and leaders in the list of land grabbers but still were unable to break a single man of the party.
Saad Rafique said that in the new Pakistan bread had been taken away from the people. “Opposition will not end chasing the rulers,” he said, adding that they were dreaming about PDM day and night.
To a question, he said he had seen four martial laws in this country but the worst martial law was imposed in the country during the current regime. “You are malicious and creating chaos in the country by using state institutions,” he stated.
Targeting the bureaucracy, Khawaja Saad said that the same civil servants, who worked in Punjab and the Federation, became cowards and were working on the agenda of the rulers without raising objections to the illegal orders.
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that it was the first time that the government had stopped the standing committee of the National Assembly from working and today the nation had come to know the reality that the government was making every effort to stop the standing committee to discuss the case of Broadsheet.
He said when Saqib Nisar decided the case of Banigala, he forgot that Imran Khan’s house had an anonymous permit. He said ruler should also be made answerable about the expenses of millions of rupees spent on his Zaman Park’s residence.
“Sometimes they put drugs on someone and sometimes they demolish someone’s house, but no one is looking into the thefts being made by the government,” he said.
Attaullah Tarar alleged that Shahzad Akbar’s brother tried to occupy the land in Rawalpindi and four officers were transferred for the illegal occupation of this land.
“Shahzad Akbar is using government vehicles and resources to occupy the land. Shahzad Akbar should also be held accountable,” he alleged, and said that it had been a year since the government was unable to justify Shahzad Akbar’s actions.
Tarar said that some pictures of Shahzad Akbar were leaked, in which he was taking out some documents from a vehicle in London. “We will not spare Shahzad Akbar,” he said, adding that billions of rupees of the nation have been spent on blind revenge. He also warned the chief secretary and IG Punjab to not become a part of the revenge actions of the rulers.