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November 7, 2019

Order deferred on plea of Mustafa Kamal, others against maintainability of NAB reference


November 7, 2019

An accountability court on Wednesday deferred its order on a plea moved by the defendants against the maintainability of a reference pertaining to alleged illegal allotment of an over-6,000-square-yard amenity plot for commercial purposes.

The court-III judge fixed the pronouncement of the decision on November 19, directing all parties to be present during the next hearing. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the reference against former Karachi nazim and current chairman of the Pak Sarzameen Party Mustafa Kamal, government officers Fazlur Rehman, Iftikhar Kaimkhani, Mumtaz Haider, Syed Nishat Ali and Nazir Zardari, and private builders Muhammad Dawood, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Rafiq, Muhammad Yaqoob and Zain Malik.

According to the anti-graft watchdog, the suspects had in connivance with each other sold off an amenity plot owned by the KMC in Clifton to a private builder to construct a high-rise. The plot, measuring 6,632 square yards, was situated between the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine and Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim, was, according to NAB, supposed to be given to seashell vendors to set up stalls; however, it was illegally sold to builders at a price below the market rate.

NAB said Kamal had approved the commercial status of the plot after which it was sold to a builder which later sold it to another builder. The bureau added that the price of the plot was shown to be Rs260 million while it valued more than Rs2.5 billion.

It said the space had initially been divided into 198 stalls to be handed over to seashell vendors but then there was no follow-up to that. Later in 2007, the space for 198 stalls was amalgamated into one and sold off to a builder. In 2014, the plot was sold to another builder which started the construction of a skyscraper there.

NAB maintained that the whole process of amalgamating and selling the plot was illegal and neither the status of the plot could be changed nor a building higher than one-storey could be built on it. It added that the suspects using their influence caused huge loss to the national exchequer.

Kamal’s media talk

Kamal discussed the ongoing political turmoil in the country as he spoke to the media after the hearing. The PSP chairman said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman was a seasoned politician and he was playing his cards accordingly.

He was of the view that if a government could not run the country, holding elections to elect a new government was not a bad idea. Kamal said if the opposition was interested in toppling Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government, they should resign from the assemblies first. To a question whether his party supported the JUI-F’s march, he said if it was for an amendment to the constitution, the PSP would have participated in it.

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