ISLAMABAD - Chairman National Highway Authority is apparently reluctant to initiate a formal inquiry against its own officials, who were allegedly involved in extending undue favours to Rawalpindi’s Giga Mall.

According to official documents, the mentioned shopping mall has encroached a considerable portion of the right of way of National Highway (N-5), commonly known as the Grant Trunk road.  

Giga Mall, located at GT road, was launched by Al Ghurair Giga Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited in 2016 and it is a multi-storey commercial-cum-residential project.

The NHA’s Patwari in its two demarcation reports categorically certified that the shopping mall along with some other entities not only had exceeded from their plotlines but also constructed structures on ROW while the General Manager ROW also wrote a letter to Member Central Zone NHA to remove these encroachments on 22 November 2018.

Besides the removal of these encroachments, it was also suggested by the concerned formation to initiate an inquiry against the NHA’s officers, especially deputy directors maintenance, who remained posted at Rawalpindi when the said mall was in its construction phase.

The Chairman National Highway Authority Jawad Rafique Malik while talking to this scribe had also stated that the matter was in his knowledge and he assured that an operation would be launched against Giga Mall within days to get the state land back.

“I have also assigned an inquiry to GM EALS Capitan (R) Mushtaq Ahmed to fix the responsibility and to ascertain the identity of the culprits behind the said encroachments”, he added.

However, the reliable sources informed that no such inquiry has been launched so far and the Chairman NHA was reluctant in this regard because some influential people wanted to protect the officers, who helped them to encroach state land in past.

The sources informed further that as part of delaying tactics, the Chairman National Highway Authority verbally ordered a fresh joint demarcation, which is a negation of authority’s previous stance.

This scribe on 23rd January and 28th January through emails requested from the Directorate of Public Relations NHA to provide a copy of notification if inquiry is launched in instant while provide the reasons if no such formal inquiry has been launched. However, no response has been made by the directorate of public relations NHA so far.

On the other side, when contacted, the Director Legal Affairs Giga Mall Amjad Asfar Gakhar while responding on the matter stated that the company did nothing wrong as their building was within their plotline.

At the time when incumbent government is claiming to retrieve hundreds of acres of encroached land from land grabbers, the ignorance of such massive encroachments by NHA is totally unjustified and needs a prompt response from concerned quarters.