Within two years of its opening on 1st May 2018, the new Islamabad Airport infrastructure started collapsing, and recently false ceiling panels started falling after monsoon rains. Almost 1000 feet of the runway has caved in after rains. The two parallel runways built for simultaneous arrivals and departures cannot be used for that purpose, because as per briefing by former DGCAA AM Asim Suleman to parliamentary committee in May 2016, the spacing between two parallel runways was 200 meters instead of mandatory 1000meters. The design was approved by none other than CAA, and after completion, necessary approvals were given and payment made to contractors.

Approval for choice of site, despite soil survey reports against it, was given by PM Shaukat Aziz in November 2005, and 3242 acres of land were acquired for Rs2.5 Billion. Foundation stone was laid by Shaukat Aziz on 7 April 2007, after the design plan was approved. It was officially opened on 1st May 2018 by PM Shahid Khaqan and commercial operation started by 3rd May. The project estimated at Rs 37 Billion escalated to over Rs105 Billion.

This cash-starved country seeking economic bailout packages from international donors and friendly countries is not willing to proceed against those responsible for massive corruption, incompetence and criminal complicity. The findings of this report were upheld by a committee headed by Shamsul Mulk in 2015. It seems, involved individuals of CAA, concerned ministry and contractors are far more powerful than the state, even if Rs105 Billion is at stake.

The contractors involved have not even been blacklisted, let alone being prosecuted and fined. In all likelihood they will be eligible for more mega projects.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore.