NAB approves investigation into forest land scam


The executive board of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday approved investigations into allotment of acres of the protected forest land in Islamabad to a Karachi-based real estate firm, Park Lane Estates, says an official statement.
“The executive board meeting authorised investigations against officers of CDA, M/s Park Lane Estates and others. They have been accused of illegally allotting forest department land to Park Lane Estate Company Private Limited, which caused huge loss to national exchequer,” the statement says.
The firm was previously owned by former president Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and few others. Due to lack of evidence, in 1997 Zardari was acquitted by the bureau regarding purchase of said 307 acres of prime land in Zone-III of Islamabad through a front man.
During PPP’s last government, an attempt was also made to change the status of Zone-III of Islamabad, where any kind of construction activities are banned under zoning regulations, in a bid to get nod of the federal cabinet to allow housing and commercial activities in the area where this land is located. However, the move fell through.
According to NAB investigators, Park Lane Estates (Pvt) Ltd was jointly owned by the former president, his son and a few others, purchased almost 2,500 kanals of land near Sangjani in March 2009 from Faisal Sakhi Butt.
Faisal Butt is stated as a close aide to PPP Co-chairman Zardari and used to run Islamabad affairs during PPP’s last regime. Butt had purchased the said land from a Pakistani American Muhammad Nasir Khan living in Houston, United States for merely Rs62 million in 1995. Nasir Khan was the original purchaser of the land in 1994 and was declared to be the front man of Zardari in the Ehtesab Bureau reference filed against Zardari in 1997.
The NAB also approved filing a corruption reference against former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and some senior former officers of the water and power ministry accused of illegally hiring a consultant in the ministry.
Other accused in the case include former water and power minister Liaquat Ali Khan Jatoi, former secretary water and power Ismael Qureshi and other senior former officers of the ministry.
The NAB also authorised an inquiry against the management of EOBI and officers of Bank of Punjab, Lahore. EOBI management has been accused of illegally buying Rs3.8 billion shares of BOP.
It also approved Rs177.794 million plea bargain application of Saith Nisar Ahmed.
An inquiry against former chairman Punjab Cooperative Board for Liquidation Mushtaq Anjum and others has also been authorised.
They are accused of illegal transfer of Punjab Cooperative Board for Liquidation’s land inflicting Rs53.93 million losses to the national exchequer.
Inquiries and investigations have also been ordered against the officers and officials of Lyari Expressway Resettlement Project,
Revenue Department Taluka Sajawal, Quetta Development Authority, Metropolitan Corporation Quetta, Multan Metro Bus Project, managing director Multan Waste Management Company and others for misuse of power and alleged corruption.

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