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Event Title: Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works held at Parliament House with Senator Haji Hidayatullah Khan in Chair.

Event Date: 2023-05-04

At the outset, Senator Saifullah Abro questioned the number of officers on deputation in the Ministry of Housing and Works and its attached departments and Chair directed to provide the detail in the next meeting. The committee also recommended the appointment of a permanent Director General (DG) of the Estate Office as soon as possible. The committee was informed that only 57 officials and officers submitted affidavits regarding non-ownership of any flat or house in Islamabad and their assets, out of the 241 officers and officials from the ministry of housing and works, PHA, FGEHA, Estate Office, and Pak PWD who were asked to provide such affidavits. The Chairman of the Committee directed to expedite the process and issue a final notice to non-compliant officials.

The issue of leasing commercial properties of the ministry in Karachi was discussed in detail. The committee members expressed their reservations regarding leasing the ministry's commercial properties below market value and at nominal rates. The Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Works apprised the committee that the ministry cannot do anything during the lease period as the lessees approach courts and take stay orders. The committee recommended that action should be taken against officers who undertook these lease agreements far below market value. The ministry informed that fresh lease agreements will be carried out as per the market value and for five years. A new lease policy will be implemented after the expiration of the existing lease period.

The committee also discussed the Inquiry Report pertaining to Sector F-6/1 with particular reference to illegal constructions/encroachments outside the premises and inside of the government residential properties. The ministry informed that a comprehensive campaign was started to remove encroachments from government properties and footpaths, and five thousand notices were issued in this regard. However, the process was halted after facing severe resistance.

DG FGEHA gave a detailed briefing on the land acquisition and tendering process of the Supreme Court Bar Association Park Enclave project. The committee members questioned the bidding process followed by the FGEHA, and the chair directed to provide complete details of the bidding process and criteria followed for prequalification of firms. The committee was also directed to provide details of allotees of plots as per the quota policy and criteria. The department was directed to provide details of land acquisition and actual land under possession of the department.

The committee was also briefed on the payment made against land acquisition and built-up area in Sectors F-14 and F-15 property-wise. The committee was informed that a firm was hired to determine the built-up area, and payments were made as per the survey and Google markings. Later, as per the directions of the Islamabad High Court, a revised agreement and rates were submitted before the court, which was declared as binding. IHC also changed the cut-off date for the determination of the built-up area, which caused consideration of the additional built-up area.

Lastly, the committee discussed the recruitment process followed in the case of Col (R) Imtiaz ul Haq Khattak, Chief Engineer, FGEHA. The committee was informed that due to dismal performance, the concerned officer was relieved of his duties, and a new chief engineer was appointed on contract for three years. The Chairman of the Committee was of the view that the ministry should not remove any officer without following any due process as no show cause of explanation was issued to the officer for bad performance. Moreover, he was given good performance certificates for the first two years. Secretary ministry of Housing and works was of the view that the conerned officer was not doing his job diligently owing to which he was removed. Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi said that the concerned officer should have been given the chance to present his explanation before his removal. The chair decided to discuss the matter further in the next meeting of the committee.

Committee meeting was attended by Senators, Saifullah Abro, Fida Muhammad, Khalida Ateeb, Dr. AfnanUllah Khan, Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Falak Naz, Bahramand Khan Tangi, Muhammad Qasim, Secretary Ministry of Housing and Works, DG FGEHA and officials from the concerned ministry.