Under more or less 100 year old colonial acts, statutory rules and post 1947 ordinances, three controlling bodies regulate and monitor the business of housing sector in Islamabad: firstly, Cooperative Department Islamabad (ICT), secondly, Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and thirdly Capital Development Authority (CDA). The first controls the Cooperative Housing Societies, the second, the private housing companies and the third monitors the over-all structure of development by both the Cooperative Societies and private housing companies. The layout plan prepared by the managers of a housing project is primarily approved by CDA in congruence with the Master Plan of Islamabad. The Cooperative Department of ICT and SECP are entirely responsible to ensure that the housing projects of non-governmental bodies are strictly planned and executed under the law. The sole protectors of the people’s right of property is the cooperative department, ICT, as far as cooperative Societies are concerned. Insight hidden in multiple governing bodies might be to reinforce law on the private managers of the housing projects so that the development of Islamabad must in according with the basic idea of its creators, though it sow the seeds of self-pursuits, leaving the nation’s pride center in a total disarray and ugly shape.
As every housing project financed by the people’s money, the first victims of misrule were the people, and then the nation. Routinely, the aggrieved people of cooperative and private housing entities get violations of their rights and law raised at every forum like Parliament, Judiciary, Federal Ombudsman, Ministries, CDA, Cooperative Department, ICT and SECP. Owing to inactions on the complaints, the violations of rights and law redoubled. Specifically, the Cooperative Department, ICT, aggressively discouraged the complainants, ordering them either to withdraw their complaints or enter into unilateral agreement with the usurpers of lawful property through the “arbitration” by judicial authority of the Registrar. In 2014, Senator Mrs. Khalida Parveen wrote a letter to the Registrar drawing his attention toward Senate Question No.7, 16th May, 2014, indicating conversion of amenities and state land into residential and commercial plots by FECHS. The Cabinet Division issued numerous show-cause notices to the management committee the copies of which were also sent to the Registrar, Cooperative Department. Nearly a half year passed then the lady Senator forwarded the case to Senate Standing Committee for action against the violators. The ICT administration forwarded the Senate Secretariat’s letter to the President, FECHS for reply, without any action against the violation of layout plan and grabbing of public and state the land. After some time, the President, FECHS gave incorrect reply to the Registrar who forwarded the same as it was to the Senate Secretariat.
Two years of continual disregard of law and human rights went unnoticed. The brave Management Committee, FECHS became braver to challenge the writ of law. On 22nd April, 2017, the Manage Committee, FECHS held AGM at the gun point in order to get the expenditures of Rs.10 billion for the last many years, approved. The members agitated the unlawful expenditures and agenda but the fully armed guards protecting the president and secretary general started manhandling the members. After a lot of terror, mess and violence, the AGM-2017 ended without any decision, though hectic propaganda campaign was put on motion to make the voiceless multitudes believed that AGM 2017 unanimously approved Rs.10 billion expenditures and membership of 5482 allottees, expressing gratitude to the Registrar, Cooperative Department, Islamabad, for giving approval of the minutes of AGM-2017, graciously. After two months of it, the elections were announced, the management committee got dissolved, as its Administrator FECHS was appointed to conduct free and fair elections of next Management Committee within 90 days. Under the Cooperative Act and Model Byelaws, the administrator is debarred to transact any kind of financial or developmental commerce but the brave administrator, FECHS, followed the footprints of the dissolved M/C., disregarding the law. Of late, it was learnt that the minutes of AGM-2017 were not approved, cancelling 2300 fake memberships, too. The Cop. Dep.’s delayed action allowed a lot of irreparable damage to the natural topography, layout plan and the rights of members of FECHS. For the last one year, Federal Employees Cooperative Housing Society is without its elected representatives.
Unaccountable Administrator, FECHS, from ICT Administration is not only running the affairs of FECHS but also, he has been given another huge cooperative society (CECHS) the management committee of which has been dissolved due to the charges of Rs.2 billion. Ironically, the governing body, Cooperative Housing Societies Department gets lion’s share from the plunder and embezzlement of other men money. For instance, FECHS launched its phase-I project in Zone-V where National Assembly Secretariat Employees Cooperative Housing Society (NASECHS) had already purchased land for its members. Due to continual intervention by the parliamentarians particularly MNAs and Deputy Speakers, National Assembly in the affairs of NASECHS, the possession of land by the society was delayed for one decade. Lastly, the solution was sought in merger of NASECHS with the FECHS. The NASECHS handed over 1097 kanal of land to the FECHS against which FECHS was to allot 1097 plots of 200 sq yd to the members of NASECHS. One kanal of land consists of 600 sq. yards, the FECHS promised to allot less than 33% of land to the NASECHS members, retaining 67% of land for its own use. The Registrar instantly approved the agreement for the joint venture with the covert agreement that FECHS shall give forms of 482 residential plots of 200 sq yd for the officers/employees of ICT, Islamabad @ Rs.600000.00 per plot contrary to the fixed price of Rs800000 per 200 sq yd for the members of NASECHS who had first given 1097 kanal land in possession of FECHS.
The FECHS did not only allot 482 plots to the officers of ICT but also handed over the possession of 463 plots. To the contrary, FECHS has so far given the possession of only 413 plot of 200 sq yd @ Rs.800000. 00 per plot to the members of NASECHS against 1097 kanal of land. The official document duly signed by the Circle Registrar, Cooperative Department, ICT, Islamabad revealed: “forms given to ICT Officers were misused” as 133 persons “other than the officers/employees of ICT got plots at cheaper rate of Rs.600000.00 per 200 sq yd who have also succeeded in getting the possession of 65 plots before scrutiny. In presence of such evident proves of fraud, embezzlement and misuse of power, the Management Committee, FECHS, had claimed that (AGM-2017, p/27) that “inquiries pending in NAB and FIA have been closed”. Shockingly enough, the claim was duly endorsed by the Circle Registrar. The record signed by the President, Secretary General, FECHS and the Circle Registrar narrates the grime story of massive violation of law and rights by the president, secretary general, vice presidents, members, finance managers, accounts clerks, office boys, business partners, contractors and middle men. Even then, Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad, the Director/Registrar and the Circle Registrar, Cooperative Departments have selfishly compromised the writ of law for personal gains, as none of them substantial action against the violators.
Owing to ceaseless persuasion by the orphans, widows, kith and kin of the hapless members among whom some had died, some are very old and other totally hopeless, a series of questions and point of orders about massive violation of law, huge embezzlement of public money, fake allotments and unlawful selling of commercial and residential plots in the market flooded the parliament. Lastly succumbing to the growing agitations, special audit of FECHS was carried out which recorded that the management committee, FECHS was found involved in commission of Rs.7billion corruption. Even then, the management committee has succeeded in obtaining stay-order from the court, making elections of FECHS impossible for the last one year. The FECHS is not one and only prominent case but all the cooperative housing societies and companies have developed the same stories. Civilian Employees Cooperative Housing Society, Intelligence Bureau Employees Cooperative Housing Society and AGOSH have developed the respective projects in the way the FECHS developed. A large number of cases regarding conversion of worship places, schools, parks, playground and land for civic utilities are pending in the Islamabad High Court since 2006 which testifies the fact that the violators stand above the law and accountability.
The writer is EX-Director General (Translation), Senate of Pakistan.