ISLAMABAD – What to say if a parliamentary forum meant to ensure transparency and accountability in some state institution acts otherwise, most probably for some monetary gains.

And what to say if the same parliamentary forum instead of holding accountable the government officers for their corrupt practices forces them to make decisions in violation of the defined rules and regulations, once again most probably for some monetary gains.

Definitely, such practices on the part of responsible parliamentarians will result in further encouraging deep-rooted corruption in the country and incurring irreparable loss to the already fragile democracy.

In a recent move, a subcommittee of National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat has decreed that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) should allot at the earliest a costly plot worth several millions of rupees to M/s Ilyas Cold Storage, contrary to the earlier decisions of not only the CDA Board but also of the Islamabad High Court in this regard.

The aforementioned decision has also been conveyed to the city managers, an official, wishing not to be named, said on Thursday.

The issue traces back to August 1993. During the last 19 years not only the Federal Ombudsman, the CDA Board but also the Islamabad High Court had categorically rejected several times the claim of claimant, who wants the allotment of costly plot under Land Disposal Regulations 1988 rather than the laws in practice.

CDA officials are of the view that if the authority allots the plot as per findings of the parliamentary penal it would open a Pandora’s box, as the claimant is not alone but in total 56 such cases hit by the CDA revised policy taking the decision as a precedent would move the court against CDA. The episode started when the CDA received an application regarding allotment of cold storage plot from M/s Ilyas Cold Storage on August 1993 along with Rs50000 bank draft. The amount was not refundable. Till that date, there were some 56 other applications demanding allotment of plot on the same pattern. Unfortunately, meanwhile, in September 1993 CDA revised its policy regarding allotment of industrial plots and made the holding of open auction as mandatory to dispose of such plots under the CDA’s Land Disposal Regulation 1993.

CDA excused and refunded the amount to the applicants, though it was not refundable.

In July 1995 M/s Ilyas approached the Federal Ombudsman against CDA decision, but his petition was rejected by the ombudsman on January 1, 1996 saying the complainant may bid during the auction for the plot as per new land disposal rules of CDA. The CDA Land Disposal Regulation 1993 says, “Industrial plots shall be sold or leased through auction.” The complainant filed its review petition with the Federal Ombudsman taking the plea that his case should be processed under the Land Disposal Regulations 1988. The plea was accepted and the case was submitted to the CDA Board for reassessment as per advice of CDA’s legal advisor. On December 9, 1997 the CDA Board rejected the request, however, the complainant once again approached the office of Federal Ombudsman.

The Federal Ombudsman ordered that CDA Board took right decision and that if complainant was dissatisfied it could move the court and closed the case.

Meanwhile, the CDA top officials were approached by the complainant through Cabinet Division, Prime Minister’s Secretariat and President Secretariat. Following the immense pressure by the politicians, the Authority once again took  the case to the CDA Board.

The Board on August 3, 2010 decided, “Prevailing Land Disposal Policy-2005, that is currently enforced, be followed and said industrial plot be disposed of through open auction.”

The applicant, meanwhile, also moved the Islamabad High Court on March 14, 2012. The High Court ordered the Authority to consider the case of the petitioner in accordance with the rules and laws.

In the light of the court’s order the case was sent to the Law Directorate of the CDA.

The Law Directorate observed, “The case may be considered in accordance with the Islamabad Land Disposal Regulation 2005.”

The Islamabad Land Disposal Regulation 2005 states disposal of commercial plots through open auction.

It was the time when the complainant approached an MNA, who took the case to the concerned committee of the House. Further, he managed to take the case to a subcommittee, where he and his like-minded MNAs favoured M/s Ilyas and decreed in his favour.

Now a group of MPs is pressuring the city mangers to act in accordance with their directives or otherwise they threatened to move a privilege motion against those officials of CDA who would create hurdles.