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Senate body concerned at PTDC laxity on land grabbing

Senate body concerned at PTDC laxity on land grabbing

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Functional Committee on Devolution has expressed concern over the negligence of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) in resolving the prolonged issue of 172 acres land occupied by a private firm at Gadani Fish Harbour.

The committee was discussing the progress report on the public petition regarding transfer of 172 acres of land of the PTDC located at Gadani Fish Harbour to M.K. Pakistan — a in Karachi-based private company.

The meeting was held on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Senator Maula Bux Chandio. Others who attended the meeting included Mian Raza Rabbani, Saadia Abbasi, Shamir Afridi, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, Dr Mehar Taj Roghani and officials of PTDC.

The committee chairman asked why PTDC management had not taken any action against the private firm when it made an investment of over Rs1.25 billion and then started claiming.

Owner of the private firm, Malik Muhammad Khan informed the committee that the land was provided by the Coastal Development Authority in 2014 and after the investment of huge money now the PTDC was claiming the possession of land.

He said that the former principal secretary of prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad had demanded a bribe of Rs40 million to settle this issue of transfer of land but he refused. So, the issue of transfer of 172 acres of land was still pending.

The committee chairman suggested that this lingering issue would be resolved in the next meeting when all the stakeholders would bring solid proofs.

After the meeting, Malik Muhammad Khan told APP that he had requested the chief justice of the Supreme Court to take suo motu action on this issue as it was a national issue and thousands of fishermen were facing unemployment.

He said that if this harbour started functioning, export of fisheries would be doubled and around 700 million tons of fish could be exported per annum.

To a question, he said that the Karachi Harbour was banned by European Union in 1998, 2005, 2007 due to not following hygiene standards and reopened conditionally in 2013.

He said that the Gadani Fish Harbour was following the international standards and the EU was taking interest to export fish to them.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2018

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