PR land scam – NA Secretariat reluctant to open debate on report | Pakistan Today

PR land scam – NA Secretariat reluctant to open debate on report

ISLAMABAD – The connivance of a top government functionary with the National Assembly Secretariat officials has thrice delayed a debate in the lower house on the report of special parliamentary committee on railways regarding a railway land lease scam despite a written request from two members of the committee.
Though the special parliamentary committee was constituted by NA Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza herself in April 2008 to probe the leasing of Pakistan Railways land to a private consortium for developing a world standard golf club in Lahore at a throwaway price, the National Assembly Secretariat is reluctant to table its report in the House for debate.
The Special Parliamentary Committee on Railways, after a laborious task of around 28 months, submitted its report to the NA Secretariat in the first week of October 2010, recommending the termination of a contract pertaining to the allotment of the land to Royal Palm Golf and Country Club.
A source in the National Assembly told Pakistan Today that PML-Q MNA Sheikh Waqas Akram who was also part of the 20-member parliamentary committee submitted two applications to the NA Secretariat under Rule 237 of the Rules of Business of the National Assembly for initiating a debate on the committee’s report in the House, but his request was turned down. The committee chairman also submitted an application in this regard in October 2010, said the source.
The source said the requests were rejected on the direction of a top government functionary who had close ties with the lessee’s family, currently running the Royal Palm Golf & Country Club.
When contacted, Sheikh Waqas Akram confirmed that he had submitted two separate applications in the 26th and 27th sessions, seeking a debate and voting on the parliamentary committee’s report, “but my applications were not entertained.” “We are all set to raise the issue in the next NA session,” he added.
The special committee’s report had further disclosed that the lessee had failed to make payments to Pakistan Railways. It had further held that the agreement had no legal or moral standing as it had been achieved by deceit, misrepresentation, fraud and cheating.
The report had further recommended that action be initiated against former railway minister Lt-Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, former railway secretaries, chairmen and PR general manager, including Lt-Gen (retd) Saeeduz Zafar, Khurshid Alam Khan and Maj-Gen (retd) Hamid Hassan Butt.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, another member of the special committee and PML-N MNA, said the committee chairman, Nadeem Afzal Gondal, had given an application to the speaker for a debate on the report, but despite the passage of three months, but to no avail. “It is a procedural delay and the report will soon be tabled in the house for a debate,” said National Assembly Deputy Secretary Mushtaq.

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