Islamabad - The national assembly standing committee on housing and works was informed yesterday that 518 retired employees of the federal government have illegally been occupying government accommodations for the last 10 years.

The committee, which met here at the Parliament Lodges, was informed that the authorities were unable to dislodge the illegal occupants despite hectic efforts since years. The ministry officials informed the committee members that at present 17,000 employees were living in the government houses and still 19,500 employees are on the general waiting list.

To the astonishment of the committee, a member, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the ministry and the estate office have no record of 2,880 illegal tenants of the government accommodations.

The committee discussed the allotment of government accommodations to the government employees at length. The NA body expressed grave concern over the issue and directed the housing and works ministry to take stringent measures to vacate government accommodations from illegal occupants at the earliest. The chair constituted a committee under the convenorship of MNA Rajab Ali Baloch to look into the issue of illegal occupancy.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of MNA Haji Muhammad Akram. The committee directed that the ministry should take stern action against the estate office employees who had been supporting the illegal occupants through different means and report to the committee in the next meeting. The committee agreed in principle with the viewpoint of the Federal Minister for Housing and Works Akram Durrani that estate office could not handle the issue of illegal occupants lonely until the powers of magistrate be re-delegated to the estate officer, which were withdrawn in 2012. The federal minister expressed his helplessness in retrieving the government houses in the absence of powers. The committee decided to take up the issue at appropriate forum so that the government accommodations could be retrieved at the earliest.

The committee also discussed the projects of dualisation and improvement of Mandra-Chakwal Road, Sohawa-Chakwal Road, Mosa Khail-Tounsa Road, and Strength Road Zhob, and directed the quarters concerned to take effective measures to complete the projects at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the standing committee on rules of procedure and privileges yesterday deferred the issue of non-construction of the boundary wall of MNA Hostel to its next meeting.

The question of privilege regarding non-construction of safety-wall of MNA Hostel, Islamabad, was raised by MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. The question of privilege raised by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed for not allowing the an honourable member of the Parliament to depart for Canada was also deferred till the next meeting of the committee with the direction to submit a complete report on the issue.

Discussing question of Privilege raised by MNA Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan regarding the alleged launching of malicious campaign in media by Noor Ul Ameen Mengal, DCO Faisalabad, against him, the committee recommended the submission of complete relevant record in the next meeting.

On the question of lawmakers Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani and Muhammad Salman Khan Baloch, the committee recommended further inquiries into the matter while deferring the question of privilege till its next meeting.

Committee members Ch Khadim Hussain, Ch Mehmood Bashir Virk, Najaf Abbas Sial, Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khail, Sheikh Muhammad Akram, Mumtaz Ahmed Tarar, Kiran Haider, Maiza Hameed, Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur, Shagufta Jumani, Rai Hassan Nawaz Khan, SA Iqbal Quadri and Muhammad Ali Rashid attended the meeting.