ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was informed Wednesday that the contract of Lyari Expressway was awarded to the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) without following prescribed rules and regulations.

The committee, which met in the chair of Ashiq Gopang, reviewed audit objections of the National Highway Authority (NHA) of year 2009-10.

The committee members expressed serious concerns for awarding contract of the Lyari Expressway to the FWO without any strong reasons. However, the audit officials said that the inquiry report will be finalised in three weeks to ascertain the real reasons behind it.

Additional Secretary Communication Muhammad Ali Shahzad argued that the contract of Lyari Expressway was awarded to the FWO due to worsening law and order situation.

A PAC member Shafqat Mehmood sought the reasons behind the linkage of FWO to maintain law and order situation. “What is linkage of FWO with law and order,” he questioned from the concerned officials.

Another PAC Sheikh Rohail Asghar, responding to Shafqat Mehmood, in a lighter vein said that FWO workers wear uniform. He further said that it was in the law to award single source tender.

While, Committee Chairman Ashiq Gopang said the contract was awarded in year 2002 and it needs to check the rules and regulations of the particular era. An official of NHA said that a single source contract could be awarded in emergency situation.

While, some of the PAC members unanimously strongly commented that even the single source contract cannot be awarded in an emergency situation. Earlier, audit officials informed the committee that the contract was awarded to the FWO without open bidding.

The PAC strongly criticised the authorities concerned of NHA due to an extraordinary delay in the Lyari Expressway.

A parliamentary committee on Communication, around a month before, was informed that the Lyari Expressway project would be completed by August and its inauguration would be done on August 14.

The project was launched with the purpose of easing traffic congestion in Karachi. The project was reportedly delayed due to many reasons, including shortage of funds, change in plan, encroachments and hurdles in construction of sewerage etc.