In the name of charity: Police officers amassed plots

ISLAMABAD, May 30: The proceedings in the National Police Foundation (NPF) land scam case in the Supreme Court on Thursday showed that some of the top police officers had treated the NPF housing scheme in the capital as a family concern.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Gulzar Ahmed, had taken up on a suo motu the Rs6 billion land scandal against PML-N leader Anjum Aqeel.

The PML-N leader’s company – Land Linkers – was chosen to procure land for the development of the police housing scheme in Sector E-11.

Established in March 1975 as a trust for the benefit of all the police forces, the NPF was introduced to provide assistance in the shape of medical, education, one-time grants, artificial limbs, scholarships, dowry and vocational training centres to the police

But not only did the senior police officers amass plots in their names but they also doled it out to their wives, sons, daughters and even sons-in-law on the pretext of kick starting a dead property business into a rewarding real estate venture.

Many of the beneficiaries, including a former prime minister and an ex-Supreme Court chief justice along with police inspectors general and deputy inspectors general, managed to secure more than one plots – in many cases eight to 12 – at one-third of the market price against the rules of the housing scheme.

On Thursday, the apex court was informed that out of the total 1,257 plots in Sector E-11, only 67 were allotted to police constables whereas in the scheme called O-9, there were 2,600 plots and 80 of them were given to the widows of police officers.
The list of beneficiaries presented before the apex court included the names of former chief justice of Pakistan Sheikh Riaz Ahmed, who was allotted two plots in the NPF housing scheme, ex-Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz (three plots), former deputy director NPF Khuda Bux (12 plots), former managing director NPF and former IGP Mian Mohammad Ameen (eight plots), ex-DIG Laeeq Ahmed Khan (five plots), ex-director Abdul Hannan (seven plots) and former IGP Afzal Ali Shigri (five plots).

Similarly, other officers who were given more than one plots included ex-deputy director Intelligence Bureau (IB) Abdul Razzaq, ex-IGPs Kaleem Imam, Israr Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz Malik, ex-DSP Syed Abid Abbas, SP Haq Nawaz Kiani, SP Sultan Azam Taimuri, inspector Chaudhry Mohammad Akmal, Brig (retired) Zahid Waheed Butt, Agha Baqir Ali and his son Sibtain Raza of the foreign services; Sagheer Ahmed of the PIA, Malik Nazeer Mohammad Rafiq Haider, Rana Altaf, Syed Mohib Asad, Wajahat Latif, Sikander Hayat, Abdul Qadir Hai, Syed Rifaat Mustafa, Abdul Jabbar and Mohammad Khan.

However, a few of the beneficiaries, including Afzal Shigri and SP Sultan Azam Taimuri, appeared before the Supreme Court on Thursday and expressed their willingness to voluntarily surrender the plots over and above what they were entitled to. Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that the scheme was meant for charitable purposes for the low grade officers.

He said according to the rules the beneficiaries had to surrender the extra plots or the money because no one should get more than one plot.

The chief justice regretted that instead of raising the morale of the police constables who were the first to face the bullet on the field, the officers involved themselves in amassing the plots.

The apex court directed former interior secretary and incumbent principal secretary to the prime minister Khawaja Siddiq Akbar and inspector general of Islamabad police Bani Amin Khan to appear before the court on June 11.

Both were members of the committee of the NPF which had approved an agreement on March 7, 2013, suggesting withdrawal of criminal cases registered by the foundation with the FIA crime circle police station, Iqbal Town, against Anjum Aqeel.

The agreement was reached between Siddiq Akbar, then interior secretary and chairman NPF; IGP Khan, former managing director Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, NPF secretary Tariq Hanif Joiya and the PML-N leader.

It was decided under the 2013 agreement that negotiations or settlements done earlier would stand superseded and overtaken by the fresh accord. But in case of a breach of the agreement, the claim of the NPF as well as the case of FIA would get restored
with all cost and penalties.

On Thursday, the court asked Siddiq Akbar and Bani Amin to also file replies justifying the authority to enter into the agreement with Mr Aqeel.

The court also ordered issuance of notices to all those who had been allotted more than one plots in the housing scheme to justify the allotments.

Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, who had earlier conducted an inquiry into the scheme, was also asked to appear before the court and assist it.