Mustafa Kamal indicted in govt land allotment reference
An accountability court in Karachi indicted Mustafa Kamal – the chief of Pakistan Sarzameen Party (PSP) and former Karachi mayor – in a reference concerning illegal allotment of government land, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Saturday.
This case pertains to the period when Kamal served as the Karachi mayor after the introduction of new local government system by Pervez Musharraf during his years-long rule. He was accused of illegally allotting over 6,000-yard prime piece of land in Clifton.
But Kamal isn’t the lone accused as some others have also been indicted in the matter. Their names are: Iftikhar Qaimkhani, Mumtaz Haider, Muhammad Irfan, Syed Nishat Ali, Muhammad Dawood, Nazir Zardari, Muhammad Rafique, Muhammad Yaqoob and Fazl-ur-Rehman.
However, one of the accused – Zain Malik – is an absconder in the reference which was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in June 2019.
They are accused of illegal allotment of the government plots causing a loss of Rs2.5 billion loss to the national exchequer.
Earlier this month, the court had deferred the indictment in the case as Kamal moved an application through his counsel before the accountability court-III judge, seeking exemption from the hearing for the day for he was not feeling well. The judge approved the request and adjourned the hearing till November 21, observing that the court would frame charges on the accused at the next hearing.
According to the National Accountability Bureau, the suspects were involved in selling off an amenity plot owned by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation in the Clifton neighbourhood to a private builder to construct a high-rise. The plot, measuring over 6,632 square yards, situated between the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine and the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim, was supposed to be given to sea-shell hawkers to set up stalls, according to NAB, however, it was illegally sold to the builders below the market price.
NAB maintained that Kamal approved the commercial status of the plot after which it was sold to the builders. It said the price of the plot was shown at Rs260 million while it actually valued more than Rs2.5 billion.
In the beginning, it added, the plot was divided into 198 stalls, to be handed over to hawkers, but no implementation was done on it. Later in 2007, the plot was amalgamated into one and sold off to builders, according to NAB which added that the whole process 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 said the suspects, using their influence, caused over Rs2 billion loss to the national exchequer.