A formal investigation has just been launched by the National Accountability Bureau against Bahria Town’s mega projects in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. Javed Iqbal, the chairman has demanded the respective directors to complete the inquiry within three months.
At the beginning of this month, the Supreme Court rendered valueless the land that has been occupied by Bahria Town for its real estate projects in the three respective cities. They claimed that the allotment of land through this project has been done unlawfully.
As a result of this statement, NAB is set to resolve the matter within three months.
As a reply to the questions put forth, it was informed that the investigation in Murree had already been completed. However, the inquiries regarding the project in Lahore still have several loopholes unexplored.
NAB orders investigations against Bahria Town. It would be great if the whole process is transparently and expeditiously completed, Fixing responsibility for unwavering accountability #Pakistan #NadeemMalikLive pic.twitter.com/13IVeVHzZy
— Nadeem Malik (@nadeemmalik) May 21, 2018
NAB begins probe into three Bahria Town projects
— Arshad Waheed Ch (@arshad_Geo) May 22, 2018
Order against Bahria Town Karachi & Rawalpindi
It was declared by the court that the land provided to the housing scheme by the Sindh government and Malir Development Authority (MDA) was illegally allocated. As a result of this insight, the scheme was made to renounce all buying and selling of land. The court justified that the allotment of land defied and disregards the Colonization of Government Lands Act provisions. They ordered the lands exchanged to be returned to their respective proprietors.
However, this action led to the Supreme Court holding Bahria Town responsible for the forest infringement in an area near Islamabad. This area called Takht Pari is said to cover more than 2000 acres of land. It was observed that almost 1170 Kanal of land had been trespassed by Bahria Town. However, this statement was later altered and the action was declared illegal.
DHA Also Faces Backlash for Illegal Land Allotment
This allocation of land spurred an investigation on Defence Housing Authority as well. The court took notice that land had been allotted to the real estate authority sporadically. Conclusively, the Bahria Town debacle forced the head of the bench, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan to take notice of all areas. As a result, he declared an autonomous action to be taken regarding land allotted illegally to DHA and other housing societies.
The chief justice declared that he would take the action into his own hands to ensure all residential projects are treated with the same discretion.
It is an interesting question here as to why the authorities wake up a little too late. Sure, it must be appreciated that finally there is some accountability into the formation of such real estate giants. However, the already completed projects are home to many middle-income bracket families. It still remains to see how the authorities will work around this major fact in relation to both Bahria Town and DHA.