After prolonged political disputes concerning its chairmanship, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has gotten to work. PAC on Monday set up a sub-committee to review alleged misappropriations in three mega projects including Grand Hayat Hotel, New Islamabad Airport and Royal Palm Golf club and report to the main body within a month.

The issue of Royal Palm Golf club was brought into national light after different audit paragraphs concerning the project were printed in Audit Report of 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2009-10. The Golf Club, which was commercialised by the Railways Board, is under fire for a contract approved by the Executive Committee of Railway Board, with unusually low prices. A Special Committee of the NA investigated the matter and it concluded that the contract for the club should be terminated with recovery of all dues and losses along with interest. There hadn’t been any recovery of dues until the Supreme Court heard a suo motu case pertaining to the lease of railways’ land at throwaway prices and ordered that Royal Palm’s records be seized.

The Grand Hayat Hotel Project controversy was first reported by the press in 2008 about the incidence of residential apartments being constructed at a prestigious location in the federal capital which was leased only for construction of a five start hotel. The Project is also under additional fire for misrepresenting to the Court- it has previously pledged that it is constructing “serviced” apartments, not residential.

Lastly, and perhaps most in the limelight, is the case of the New Islamabad Airport. The Airport was inaugurated in 2018 and has already managed to attract controversies relating to mismanagement and wastage of funds. The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) told the PAC that the project had a cost overrun of Rs 68.911 billion that was 186.25 percent more than the initial cost.

Investigation of these three projects was important, particularly because they are mega-projects; all three were inaugurated at different times, and set deterrent for different yet massive issues. The Royal Palm Golf The priority sheds light on the issue of illegal contracts executed amidst Executive boards- a highly relevant issue revealing corruption amongst the executive. Such illegal contracts are not good for business- they lessen trust in the state and gives way for monopolies. The Grand Hayat Hotel Project will hopefully deter misuse of illegal leasing of land to corporations at throwaway prices. Lastly, the Airport project, being the most recent, stands as a lesson to future infrastructure projects on misuse of funds.