Embassy land sale plea

Lahore High Court, Punjab, Pakistan

Lahore High Court, Punjab, Pakistan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Staff Report

LAHORE: Justice Umar Ata Bandial of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday, while hearing a contempt petition on not holding an inquiry into the alleged illegal sale of Pakistan embassies’ lands in Japan and Indonesia, directed deputy attorney general (DAG) to take up the matter with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and submit findings until May 15.

Dr Qaiser Rashid had filed the original petition against the alleged embezzlement and misappropriation of billions of rupees in the sale of embassies’ lands. The petitioner’s counsel Sajjad Mahmood submitted that earlier the LHC, on April 15, 2011, had disposed of the petition and had directed the NAB director general to hold inquiry into the allegations within 60 days. He alleged that the NAB authorities had failed to hold and conclude the inquiry and violated the court order for which they should be tried and punished.In his main petition, Dr Rashid submitted that Daily Times had published a news item by Tahir Niaz on April 28, 2010, which stated clearly that Musharraf “sold gifted property for peanuts”. According to the report, on February 18, 2002, Major General Mustafa Anwar misused his authority as envoy to sell both the buildings of the embassy and residence of the ambassador on throwaway prices, in return for huge kickbacks.

The property had been a gift by the Indonesian president Soekarno to Pakistan but was sold under the pretext of a directive issued by Musharraf. Mustafa sold the property needlessly, violating the laid down procedures and defying the directive of the Foreign Ministry to wait for a proper approval from the inter-ministerial committee. The deal was finalised through a company belonging to the ambassador’s Indonesian wife. The inter-ministerial committee, even after the deal, gave approval for sale to an Indoensian company, Era Victorail, for $2.28 million.

Dr Rashid requested that the sale of these properties be declared illegal, against public interest and in violation of fundamental rights. He also requested that the federal government, the NAB and FIA be directed to proceed against all those responsible for the sale of embassies’ buildings.

Load-shedding schedule for VVIPs: Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court (LHC) postponed for April 14 the hearing of a petition filed against unscheduled load shedding, and for uninterrupted power supply to courts and hospitals.

The PEPCO counsel, on Monday, informed that it had exempted all governmental hospitals and departments of defence along with Presidency, PM House and Chief Minister’s and Governors’ Houses from load shedding.

The CJ directed the petitioner to submit its reply over this statement.

The judge was hearing a petition moved by Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique, requesting that the power supply authorities be directed to submit load-shedding schedule of residences of president, PM, CM and other high officials in the court.

He also requested that directions be given to NEPRA, WAPDA, PEPCO and LESCO to submit details of electricity production sources – thermal, coal, gas, furnace oil, or solar.

Siddique also sought production of financial statements showing profit and loss details, debit and credit entries and details of other expenses for disclosure to the public in view of Article 19-A of the constitution.

He said the money being collected under the head of fuel adjustment and other surcharges was being paid to rental power projects, which was illegal.

He stated that the citizens were facing gas as well as electricity crises, yet, they were forced to pay utility bills as demanded by Sui and WAPDA that included surcharges of all kinds.

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\03\story_3-4-2012_pg13_5