Apropos media reports about PAC probing into PR scam involving ex-generals and referring it to NAB. The manner in which land worth trillions of rupees belonging to Pakistan Railways has been plundered by privileged few of this country tells about how deep the rot has set in. This institutionalised corruption and abuse under guise of welfare, public and national interest must cease because the very edifice on which foundations of any state i.e. collective public interest, stands compromised. 

If instead of plundering this once most efficient and reliable state owned transportation and logistic support system of its vast real estate for benefit of few, Pakistan Railways had sold surplus land at market rate; this institution could have revamped itself, instead of being reduced to another white elephant and a burden on the taxpayer. Over 4,178 acres of the expensive real estate belonging to PR has been taken over by individuals and state institutions on some excuse or another, while Railways is left with a begging bowl, struggling for survival, headed by incompetent and corrupt mediocrity. 

When will we put a stop to these few corrupt powerful individuals in politics or within paid civil and uniformed services, in their endless pursuit and greed, destroying and plundering national assets under the guise of reforming and restructuring them? Four controversial individuals named Javed Ashraf Qazi, Saeed-uz-Zafar, Hamid Hassan Butt and Akhtar have defiantly and openly deprived Pakistan Railways of prime real estate measuring over 140 acres of what was formerly RGC in Lahore and given it to private commercial company for Rs4 per square yard on a 33-year lease which was illegally extended to 49 years. Yet in his wisdom, Senator Shafqat Mahmood defended this lease and supported these four individuals, who happen to be retired khakis, based on the argument that executives of PR had been using it for their recreation.  

If the purpose was to stop this abuse by executives, this prime real estate should have auctioned at market price to raise funds for developing and upgrading this vital transportation system that serves millions of poor Pakistanis. How does it help National Exchequer by building an elite club on it with scores of commercial marriage marquees for so called elite? When will we stop this hypocrisy? 

MALIK TARIQ ALI,  

Lahore, July 27.