Several illegalities committed in GDA under PTI government

May 16, 2022

ABBOTTABAD: A top-ranking official of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf federal government close to then prime minister Imran Khan in Islamabad was allegedly involved in dozens illegal...

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ABBOTTABAD: A top-ranking official of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) federal government close to then prime minister Imran Khan in Islamabad was allegedly involved in dozens illegal activities carried out in Galiyat Development Authority (GDA), a Tourism promoting provincial autonomous body in KP which included awarding a number of

projects to blue-eyed persons causing a huge financial loss to the exchequer.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Peshawar already initiated an investigation in this regard but the KP government was allegedly creating hurdles to that, sources in GDA revealed to The News here Sunday.

Headed by Ehsan Mani, a close aide to ousted prime minister Imran Khan, GDA was given autonomous status by the KP PTI government.

But it was practically controlled by a senior bureaucrat, Muhammad Azam Khan, Secretary to the ousted prime minister since the time he was secretary of Tourism in KP.

Sources in the GDA said Azam Khan chose Raza Ali Habib, an officer in grade 18 of the Pakistan Railways and posted him on deputation in the GDA as director of administration with the additional charge of director-general, a grade 20 post.

During his over four years stay at the GDA, Raza Ali Habib allegedly misused his authority and leased out 22 kanal precious land to M/s Baron Pakistan limited, owned by one Mumtaz Muslim, A rich financial supporter of the PTI, for constructing a four-star hotel at Nathiagali.

He allegedly provided 110 kanal of land to a private company, Manal Group, on a long-term lease for the Ayubia Chairlift Project, allegedly involved in a property scam of Hilda Estate at Dunga Gali measuring 16 kanal land, Illegal and unlawful housing societies in Galiyat consisting of high rise buildings.

As many as 12 buildings, including rest houses, were allegedly leased out without fulfilling legal formalities.

Out-of-order machinery was allegedly purchased for snow removal worth Rs 20 million.

Raza Ali Habib allegedly made Illegal appointments and promotions in grade 17 and above and distributed honorarium to GDA employees before relinquishing charge as director-general after directives by the Peshawar High Court.

GDA newly posted Director General Captain (Retired) Khalid Mehmood, when contacted to get his comments on the issues, stated that he was scrutinising all the projects before taking a final decision, assuring no illegal and unlawful activity would be allowed at any cost.

He said although the land dispute with the Forest Department had been resolved for the construction of a four-star hotel at Nathiagali which reduced the total area, the GDA was waiting for the cabinet’s approval for de-notifying the relevant sections of the Forest Ordinance.

Khalid Mehmood said the GDA would communicate to M/s Baron Pakistan for the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project from the Environment Protection Agency.

About the Ayubia Chairlift Project, the GDA chief said he would wait for a final verdict by the court as the case was pending with the high court.

However, he assured that the GDA would never launch the project without the EIA.

Commenting on the Helda Estate Project, the GDA chief said he had confirmed from the relevant section that the GDA had registered the deed which was duly attested by the registrar of the Revenue Department.

Khalid Mehmood, who has served as deputy commissioner of Peshawar and Abbottabad apart from the political agent of the now-defunct Khyber Agency is facing big challenges to get GDA out of the prevailing crises facing the provincial department.

It is worth mentioning here that Peshawar High Court Circuit Bench at Abbottabad had declared the appointment of GDA director-general Raza Ali Habib as illegal, without lawful authority and of no legal effect. Raza Ali Habib had finally relinquished his charge to avoid facing contempt of court proceedings.

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