Punjab govt strikes a ‘clandestine deal’ with DHA | Pakistan Today

Punjab govt strikes a ‘clandestine deal’ with DHA

LAHORE – The face-off between Defense Housing Authority (DHA) and Punjab government on the jurisdiction issue is likely to end as Punjab government is heading to hush up the brawl on the directions of PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.
Sources privy to developments said that Punjab government and DHA had locked horns when the latter declared various lands in its controlled areas, through a notification published in the 2011 gazette of Pakistan and in return Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif termed the notification illegal announcing to get it cancelled by constituting a committee under headship of additional chief secretary.
However, brewing situation boiled down after a message by Nawaz Sharif was received by a high-ranked army official, asking to resolve the conflict amicably, sources added. It is the second time when Punjab government has chosen to retreat, admitting that writ of government does not exit in the DHA and deepening an impression that Punjab had two states – one administered by Punjab government and the second governed by DHA.
Last time, Punjab government waged the war against DHA, alleging that DHA had illegally occupied around 4,638.19 kanals land. It also demanded of Rs 40 billion if DHA wanted to legalize the occupation. But, soon the tension was replaced by cordial relations after government stepped back under ‘mysterious’ circumstances.
An official in CM Secretariat told Pakistan Today that current patch-up seemed to be a product of a ‘clandestine deal’. “The details of give-and-take will never come to light as happened in past,” he added. Meanwhile, he said that CM committee also recommended that since DHA did not fall in ambit of government and was not bound to follow the provincial rules and regulations, it was vain to call DHA to question about any issue.
Committee said that Punjab government could take up the issue in Ministry of Defense, legally authorized to run the affairs of DHAs across the country. Committee also mentioned that DHA issued the notification as per rules and before taking any action, rules needed to be challenged. However, before the final decision was taken, PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif ordered to back off, official added.
PML-N MPA told Pakistan Today that last time DHA wild extension plan was raised by MPA Mian Naseer Ahmed during the proceedings of the Punjab Assembly’s 10th session on November 28, 2008. The MPA had asked the Revenue Department through a question about the exact area of land occupied by the DHA, and whether the Punjab government had been paid for it.
In its reply, the Revenue Department said the land in question measured 4,638 kanals, and the DHA had not made any payment to the government. The department informed the house that the land in question was situated in the Kamhan, Hare, Bangali and Barki areas and the measurements of the land in the Lahore Cantonment was 3814.07 kanals, 178.12 kanals in Kamahan, 155 kanals in Hare, 477.09 kanals in Bangali and 13.11 kanals in Barki mauzaas.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sanaullah during the proceedings suggested that the matter be referred to the CMIT for investigation. The matter was handed over to the CMIT as it was believed that formation of a committee would delay the process for about 6 months. Speaker Rana Iqbal directed that the matter be handed over to a CMIT officer enjoying the confidence of the MPAs.
However, the mover of the question and some opposition members objected to the decision. They said a committee should be formed and they were ready to wait for six months. The speaker also asked for a report on the issue to be presented to the next session of the assembly. A number of sessions have been held, but no report was presented in it. An official in DHA said that as DHA agreed to grant valuable plots to PML-N parliamentarians to brush up the occupation issue under the carpet, government-DHA tussle vanished in air and issue was no more alive.
At present, the lands in question are 72 villages in the surrounding of River Ravi, Barki Road on the North, BRB Canal on the East, Hudiara Drain on the South, Defence Road up to Rohi Nala at Ferozepur Road (DHA Lahore), Defence road on the North, King Edwards Medical College Housing Society at Holloki Road on the South, Raiwind Road on the West (DHA Rehbar), Thokar Niaz Baig on the North, Raiwind Road on the East, LDA Avenue-I on the South and Multan Road from Niaz Baig Distributary on the West (DHA Lahore EME sector).
An official of Revenue Department said that Punjab government had already banned activities regarding the development of housing societies in the vicinity of River Ravi to maintain the environmental balance in the city.

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