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LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar on Thursday said the government has directed the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to investigate the illegal allotment of plots in different LDA schemes during the tenure of Nawaz Sharif as Punjab CM.

“Action will be taken against illegal beneficiaries as well as those who had illegally allotted such plots,” the CM said while addressing a press conference at his office on Thursday. PM’s accountability advisor Barrister Shehzad Akbar and SACM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan were also present.

The CM disclosed that during the tenure of former chief minister Nawaz Sharif, 1352 plots worth billions of rupees were illegally given to one Senator, 16 assembly members and their relatives in different LDA schemes in Lahore. These plots were distributed in violation of rules under discretionary quota. As many as 646 plots were distributed in Johar Town, 260 in Sabzazar, 191 in Tajpura, 108 in Gujjar Pura, 37 in Allama Iqbal Town, 32 in Model Town, 31 in Faisal Town and five other plots were illegally allotted in Gulberg and the discretionary quota was violated, he added.

Giving the details, the CM said Nawaz Sharif illegally allotted plots worth billions of rupees during his tenure of chief ministership from 1985-90 in Punjab. These plots were allotted in violation of discretionary quota and Qamar-uz-Zaman Khan played an important role in the illegal allotment of these plots. Qamar-uz-Zaman was an employee of the Malaria Control Programme; and from there, he was appointed as DG LDA by Nawaz Sharif. Then he was posted as private secretary to PM Nawaz Sharif in 1997. He was also deputed as political secretary to CM Shahbaz Sharif in 2008. Qamar-uz-Zaman Khan illegally allotted precious plots to political personalities and public representatives in Lahore and violated merit as the front man. MPA Raja Ishfaq Sarwar (Late) was illegally allotted 14 plots, he added.

The CM said that ACE has been directed to take legal action, adding that recovery will also be made. Laws were blatantly violated in the past but the incumbent government will ensure the supremacy of rule of law and transparency will be maintained because it is the new Pakistan of PM Imran Khan and no one will be allowed to do any illegal activity, he said.

Regrettably, the CM deplored that no past government took any action over the illegal allotment of plots in different LDA schemes nor anyone held accountability. Rather, this huge political bribery was hushed up, he said. The CM stated that discretionary powers are not used by the incumbent government and not a single inch of state land has been allotted to anybody over political affiliation.

Replying to a question, the CM asserted that not only recovery will be made but penalties will also be recovered from the illegal beneficiaries. Retrieval of state land is not a temporal act but a permanent process and no one will be allowed to grab the state land, he added.

To another question, he assured to retrieve land in journalist colony and action will be initiated against those involved in an illegal act. The journalists will be given their rights, he assured. The CM disclosed that preparations are underway for local bodies’ elections and announced to take action after an inquiry of LWMC affairs. No illegal activity will be tolerated, he emphasized. PM Advisor Shehzad Akbar said that politics means public service now and emphasized that the style of ‘Changa Manga’ and ‘mafia’ will not be allowed to work now. Those who came into power through non-party 1985 elections hijacked the politics and indulged in the spate of corruption and loot. These are the people who never took food from their homes and blatantly wasted public resources, he added. He congratulated CM Usman Buzdar and his team for disclosing mega corruption and announced that disciplinary action will be taken for illegally allotted plots. Recovery will be made to eke out good results, he added.

To a question, he said that Raja Ashfaque Sarwar got 14 plots and Khizar Hayat, Mehmood-ul-Hassan and others also made hay while the sun shined. He disclosed that around 2000 plots were allotted during the tenor of Nawaz Sharif as CM and out of it, 1352 plots were illegally allotted. This illegal allotment was hushed up from 1990 till today. The PTI government has freed institutions from political pressure to help them to perform independently. The Punjab government retrieved around 146000 acres state land worth Rs425 billion from squatters, he added.

Moreover, the CM said those giving ultimatum of the long march are trying to disrupt the development process, adding that the gang of opportunists has tried to take in the people for its personal gains. It is, however, heartening that PDM’s every conspiracy has remained unsuccessful, he said.

Usman Buzdar said the tragic death of the PDM is a clear message to the opportunists as their mean politics has been fully exposed. Keeping in view the recent surge, the CM has directed that anti-coronavirus precautions should be strictly implemented.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021