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    Friday, 1 June 2018

    Malik Riaz's alleged frontman arrested by Anti Corruption Circle in Rawalpindi

    The Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) Rawalpindi Circle arrested three key-culprits allegedly involved in land grabbing worth billion of rupees near Islamabad , one of whom is staed to be a "frontman" for property tycoon Malik Riaz Ahmed of Baharia Towns, South Punjab News reported . ACE authorities said that it happened with the connivance of revenue staff from Patwaris to Deputy Commissioner (revenue).This action was taken by ACE after four years.
    Fazal Inam alias Saeen Inam was arrested after the authorities found that 732 kanals of land near Islamabad's Rawat area, worth billions of rupees, had been transferred to his name without any revenue record. The officials also arrested Inam's accomplice Fazal Arshad and the revenue official Illyas who allegedly transferred the land to Inam.
    According to high-ranking officials in the ACC, a tehsildar Sohail Maqbool and girdawar Qazi Sajid, who are yet to be arrested, have also been nominated in the case.
    The arrested suspects are being held at Civil Lines police station and will be produced before a magistrate on Friday where the ACC will seek their physical remand.
    A private land developer had submitted a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Rawalpindi against alleged nexus between the revenue officials and the ‘land mafia’ in May 2014.
    But instead of probing the matter, the ACE referred it to the revenue department for adjudication.
    In addition to ‘facilitating’ the land mafia, the revenue officials, especially tehsildars and patwaris, were also accused of providing financial support to the local politicians for their political activities.
    The complaint filed with the chief secretary Punjab and the director general ACE by Allied Developers stated: “In order to safeguard the interest of the state and its citizens, the nexus of bureaucracy and the Qabza mafia should be broken.”
    It cited an example where Additional District Collector (Revenue) Rawalpindi Talat Mehmood Gondal declined to adjudicate a controversy related to a sale deed in order to favour a private housing society.
    Dr Mohammad Shafique, the director of the complainant firm, alleged that encroachment on forest land of Punjab and the multi-billion scam of the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) had been committed in connivance with the revenue officials and the land mafia.
    He alleged that in addition to the additional collector and the tehsildar Rawalpindi, a blue-eyed boy of an incumbent federal minister was protecting the land mafia.
    After visiting different offices, when the complaint reached the ACE Rawalpindi, it forwarded the matter to the revenue officials against whom relief had been sought by the complainant.
    When contacted, ACE Assistant Director Chaudhry Arshad Mehmood said the revenue officials had the judicial powers and would decide the matter.
    He, however, said the ACE would intervene in the matter at a later stage after the disposal of the complaint by the revenue office.
    It may be mentioned that the Lahore High Court (LHC) in June 2012 while deciding the petitions of the affectees of Bahria Town and the Revenue Cooperative Housing Society (RECHS) merger had directed the ACE to take action against those corrupt revenue officials who had allegedly ‘facilitated’ the deal against the interest of hundreds of RECHS members.
    However, so far not a single revenue official has been booked by the ACE.
    According to sources, the reason why the ACE shows leniency for revenue officials is the services of patwaris, tehsildars and additional collectors for the local politicians.
    The sources said the revenue staff allegedly received kickbacks from the land mafia for protecting their interest and spent some of the ill-gotten money on the campaigns of the politicians.
    According to the sources in the revenue office, despite claims made by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, patwaris and tehsildars still allegedly took bribe from the land owners for issuing ‘fard’ (ownership document), transfer of land and registration of immovable property from one person to another.
    They said the officials allegedly took thousands of rupees from the citizens for performing their official jobs for which they were already being paid salaries through the taxpayers’ money.
    Those who refused to pay them the bribe are forced to wait for years to get a document which could be available in a single day.
    Take the case of Dr Abdul Razzaq, 80, who has been visiting the offices of patwaris and tehsildars for several years to get his land transferred in his name which he bought in 1973.
    Mr Razzaq, a resident of Rawalpindi, said after he refused to pay bribe to the tout of a tehsildar, the revenue staff - patwari, gardawar - not only refused to transfer his land but also raised a new objection on his application whenever he visited them.
    “It is very difficult to meet these officials as because of my old age I cannot visit them on a daily basis and when I could manage to reach their offices they are not available,” he complained.
    Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Member National Assembly (MNA) of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), when contacted, alleged that the PML-N politicians used revenue officials to meet the expenses of their election campaigns and other political activities.
    He also alleged that the blue-eyed tehsildars and patwaris collected bribe from those who visited their offices for the routine work. After keeping their share, they forward the rest to the minister, he alleged.
    “The lifestyle of certain politicians of the PML-N does not commensurate with their known sources of income and it appears that they also get their share from the ‘revenue’ of the tehsildars and patwaris,” he added.
    However, Mushahidullah Khan of the PML-N told Dawn that the rivals of his party always levelled allegations that the patwaris were behind the successful rallies and public gatherings of the party, which was not correct.
    He said the PML-N bore the cost of arrangements for the rallies and other political activities from the funds it collected from the party members.
    When he was reminded that the details of the expenses the PML-N submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan did not commensurate with the huge amount its politicians spent on their publicity campaigns, he said the district organisers in different cities were responsible for the arrangements of such activities and they raised the finances on their own.
    Additional Commissioner Rawalpindi Habibullah refused to comment on the matter. However, Assistant Commissioner Revenue Tasnim Ali said action was being taken against the corrupt officials.
    He denied any political interference in the affairs of the revenue officials and said the revenue officials were working without the influence of outsiders.

    NAB officials arrest two in land scam

    The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Karachi chapter arrested Abu Bakar Dawood and Abdul Aziz Dawood in a land scam case after the Sindh High Court rejected their bail plea earlier today.
    The two are accused of illegally converting 70 acres of industrial land to commercial/residential land in Korangi area.
    The conversion was approved in 2011 allegedly by former secretary of Sindh's land utilisation department Ghulam Mustafa Phul, who is also nominated in the case. His bail plea was rejected by the court as well, however, he escaped from court premises.
    Abu Bakar and Abdul Aziz will be produced before an accountability court tomorrow, where NAB authorities will seek their judicial remand.
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