Public Accounts Committee launches fight against gifting plots to elite
By: Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee is all set to take a historic decision of recommending to doing away with the practice of awarding plots to the most influential segments of society at throwaway prices.
Nadeem Afzal Chan, chairman Public Accounts Committee, told The News here on Tuesday that the PAC would make its recommendation about the abolition of the allocation of plots to judges, generals, bureaucrats, journalists and others at throwaway prices.
He said that besides the federal government, the defence ministry and the provincial governments would also be recommended to abolish this highly discriminatory policy of providing residential plots at the federal and provincial levels to a the selected few.
Chan explained that the military would also be recommended to abolish the policy of providing agriculture land to generals as the country is already shrinking for want of “plots” for selected groups.
He, however, said that the PAC would support the Defence Housing Authority (DHA)-like housing incentive in the civilian side where like defence officer’s civilian officers would be required to pay in instalment from their salaries for plot/house to be provided to them.
Such is the severity of the politics of plots in today’s Pakistan that every federal secretary is entitled to two residential plots in Islamabad. In addition many of these federal secretaries and BS-22 officers also get plots from the provincial governments. Some BS-22 officers, particularly those belonging to the Police Service of Pakistan, get additional plots from the Police Foundation.
There are a few retired BS-22 police officers each having got half a dozen plots from the Police Foundation.Every secretary interior is also entitled to get a plot from the Police Foundation besides what he gets from the federal government. Those who get the chance to serve the Capital Development Authority even on deputation acquire a residential plot.
The incumbent chairman CDA, however, not only refused to get a plot for the same reason he reportedly has got an order from the PM to ban such allotment for deputationists in the Authority.
After the federal secretaries were allowed two residential plots in the federal capital, the then government decided to extend this facility to the judges of the Supreme Court as well despite the fact the incumbent Chief Justice had taken suo moto notice of the two-plot policy for federal secretaries before Musharraf’s Nov 3, 2007 emergency.
The Dogar court not only dismissed the CJ’s suo moto case but all PCO judges of the SC accepted the offer of two plots. The controversial policy continues even now though the CJP had refused in 2009 the offer of a second plot made to him by the federal government.
However, some other judges of the post-March 2009 independent judiciary accepted the offer while there are several in the present lot of the SC judges, who have not yet got the second residential plot.
In Islamabad the government also offers residential plots on throwaway prices to the journalists of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, most of whom are also allotted residential plots by the Punjab government in Rawalpindi.
In the military side as you climb the ladder of promotion, the number of plots increases but for Generals besides residential plots, agriculture land and commercial plot is also offered.Although Nadeem Afzal Gondal shows his resolve to put an end to this policy of exploitation, it is yet to be seen if the federal government, the provincial authorities and the military establishment implement the PAC’s recommendations.