PTI govt to take back every looted penny: CM

PTI govt to take back every looted penny: CM

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Sardar Usman Buzdar said the PTI government would protect each and every penny of the people and those who had benefitted of their influence, would have to pay back every penny of the usurped amount.

He said that the Punjab government had set its direction in the first 100 days and targets had been pinpointed.

He stated this while addressing a press conference at 90-Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, here.

Provincial ministers Raja Basharat, Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan and spokesman to the Punjab government Dr. Shahbaz Gill were also present.

The CM said that an indiscriminate action had been initiated against the powerful land grabbers during the campaign against encroachments.

So far, as much as 759,428 kanal precious state lands had been recovered from various squatters, he added.

"The total cost of the retrieved land is in billions and trillions of rupees which is almost equivalent to the development budget of the Punjab province, in fact, this is not an ordinary achievement as indiscriminate action has been initiated at such a large scale for the first time", he said.

He said the PTI government had shown no leniency to anybody during that operation while no any previous government could dare to take action against the land grabbers in the past.

Giving a detail of retrieved state lands across the province, the CM elaborated that 56,264 kanal land had been recovered in Lahore, 22,788 kanal state land was recovered in Gujranwala division and another 136,000 kanal land was retrieved in Faisalabad division. Similarly, 7,350 kanal in Rawalpindi division, 405,665 kanal in DG Khan division, 14,563 kanal in Bahawalpur division, 36,000 kanal in Sahiwal division, 56,284 kanal in Sargodha division and another 24,000 kanal state land had been recovered in Multan division, he added.

He said all the departments concerned had taken custody of their recovered lands and a data-bank had also been established for its best utilization.

Meanwhile, anti-encroachment committees had also been established at the level of districts and utmost effort had been made so that hapless segments and people engaged in small-scale businesses may not be disturbed, he added.

CM Buzdar said that four different camp offices of chief minister were set up at Jati Umra, 96-H Model Town, 180-H Model Town and 41-S DHA in the past. "On the contrary, I did not have any camp office," he added.

He said that during the previous tenure, more than 2,000 security officials were deployed for chief minister at four camp offices. Now, only 60 officials were performing their security duties, he added.

The CM said, "Previously Rs 550 million were spent from the state resources for the security of Jati Umra and not a single penny has been spent in this regard in our government." The PTI government had also made a saving of Rs 3 million in the head of petrol every month in CM Office, he added.

Giving a detail of expenditures of Punjab House Islamabad during the previous tenure, the CM said that as much as Rs. 6.37 crore were still pending against political and other persons associated with the previous government. "We have cancelled the booking of illegal occupants of Punjab House and notices have been issued to them," he said, adding that Rs 6.496 million were pending against Dr. Asif Kirmani, Rs 9.6 million were pending against Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and Senator Mushahid Ullah had to pay Rs 2 million. Similarly, he said, Anusha Rahman had to pay Rs 2.3 million and Rs 3.9 million were also pending against former advocate general Mustafa Ramday. Meanwhile, Zubair Gull had to pay an amount of Rs 2.4 million while more than Rs 10 million were officially due to personal friends of former prime minister, he added.

Releasing the details of various actions for curbing the corruption during the last three months, the Chief Minister said that Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab had made a recovery of Rs 34 billion during this period. He said that Rs two billion had been received in head of fines and Rs 32 billion were gained in shape of retrieved state lands.

A state land worth Rs. 2.5 billion had been recovered from former federal minister Anwar Aziz Chaudhry in Sillanwali tehsil of Sargodha district, he added.

The Chief Minister said that important disclosures had been surfaced during the actions of ACE. During an inquiry of Ittefaq Foundry, it was gleaned that Ittefaq Foundry had illegally occupied around 240 kanal state land in Kot Lakhpat area of Model Town tehsil in Lahore. Out of it, 71 kanal belonged to federal government while rest of the land was owned by the Punjab government, he said. This matter was being further investigated through revenue record and many more disclosures would be brought before the media soon, he assured.

The Chief Minister said that Supreme Court passed orders on June 25, 1997 in Muhammad Ramzan VS Chief Settlement Commissioner Case that all allotments of state lands after 1973 in this area would be considered as cancelled.

In the light of this order, board of revenue cancelled all such transfers on 1st January 1998 but despite that, Haji Imtiaz Ali S/O Muhammad Latif and former federal finance minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar sold out 250 kanal state land through forgery in cahoots with former Gardarwar Nazir Ahmed and former Patwari Aslam of Harbanspura, he said and added the amount of this land was around Rs 5 billion. He said that an FIR No.

80/2011 was registered on July 9, 2011 in police station Anti Corruption Establishment but the accused succeeded to get this case dropped on October 7, 2011 by using their political influence. However, he said, investigation of this case had been restarted.

He further said that ACE had identified illegal housing societies in Lahore and other districts of the province during the last three months. Not only powerful political personalities but officers of LDA and concerned development authorities were also found involved in this illegal business and Additional DG LDA had been arrested, he added.

The Chief Minister added that three cases of Bahria Town Lahore had also been surfaced.

In first case (FIR 58/2018), Bahria Town illegally occupied 47 kanal and 15 marla state land of PCBL and set up seven star hotel, community centre and other business centres there. The cost of this land was Rs. 2.35 billion, he added.

In another case (FIR 69/2018), Bahria Town illegally occupied 59 kanal land of Punjab Auqaf department having a cost of Rs. one billion and 77 crore. Bahria Town started a number of housing societies including Bahria Orchard II, III, IV and Icon Valley etc without the approval of LDA. Due to it, a loss of Rs 1.12 billion had occurred to the national treasury, he said.

Comprehensive investigation of this matter was continued and strict legal action would be initiated against the criminals, he added.

The Chief Minister reiterated that corruption would not be tolerated in the province.

To a question, Usman Buzdar said that he was totally empowered Chief Minister and used his authority in accordance with constitution and the law.

To another question, he said that data-bank had been made for the best utilization of recovered lands. Now, this land would be made to best utilize it in public interest, he added.

He said that a whole program was being presented with regard to the 100 day performance and media would also be invited.

To a question, he said that pending dues of Punjab House would be recovered from every defaulter as it was the money of the nation and not a personal amount, they would have to return back this money, indiscriminate action was going on against corruption in Punjab, he added.

To another question, the Chief Minister said that good news would soon start coming with regard to southern Punjab and a secretariat would start working from next financial year.

"I meet with the people every week and help solve their issues," the Chief Minister added.

To a question, Usman Buzdar said that six bills had been presented in the Punjab Assembly last day for legislation and he regularly attended the Punjab Assembly.

He said, "Administration has been activated to control price-hike and I am also keeping an eye on steps taken for price-control." A committee had been set up with the education minister in the chair to review the fee of private schools, he added.

To another question, he said that former government remained busy in constructing fly-overs and bridges and had done nothing for the poor. The present government provided shelter to the common man, the Chief Minister concluded.