Auditors observed Bahria Town Karachi (BTK) encroaching upon 491 kanals of land and DHA City Karachi snatching up 294 kanals of NHA land while examining the financial operations of the NHA.
The 136-kilometer-long, six-lane M-9 highway runs from Hyderabad to Karachi. The motorway, which was built between 2015 and 2018 by enlarging the current Superhighway, also serves industrial traffic coming from Port Qasim and Karachi Port.
According to the audit report, BTK built the interchange on 491 kanals of NHA land on M-9 “without any approval of NHA authorities and without entering into a lease arrangement with NHA.” It further stated that DHA City used around 3 kilometres of government land to build an interchange and access road at NHA’s Land/Right of Way at M-9 Karachi (on both sides of the M-9). The audit report said that “294-Kanal (land) was illegally utilised DHA without any approval of NHA authorities and without entering into a lease agreement with NHA.”
The report states that the auditors brought up this issue in May or June 2021, but the NHA chose not to respond. It claimed that despite numerous requests, the departmental audit team did not hold its meeting to review this audit item.
The auditors suggested an investigation to determine who should be held accountable in addition to recovering unpaid fees in accordance with NHA policy.
According to the report, in order to implement NHA policies for commercialization, right of way conserving, construction lines, removal of intrusions, erection/establishment of filling stations, hotels, motels, eateries, industrial plants, nurseries, shops, ”khokhas”, etc., and laying of utility lines, it is necessary to use a policy structure and standard operating procedures.
According to the statement, the commercial exploitation of the right of way was morally and ethically wrong given the people’s strong religious or local sensibilities.
In February 2020, BTK inaugurated its interchange on the M9. Three underpasses, numerous slip roads, access roads, service roads, and a portion of M9 are all included in the eight-kilometer project.
Three years ago, the Supreme Court prohibited the Accountability Bureau from bringing referrals against BTK after accepting their “Rs460 billion offer” for the Malir district land it had previously occupied.
The NAB chairman was questioned by the Public Accounts Committee earlier this year for offering the real estate magnate an “undue favor” by enabling him to pay the “Rs460bn fine” associated with the BTK housing project using the £140m that the UK’s National Crime Agency had remitted to Pakistan.
Former federal Cabinet ministers and accountability adviser Mirza Shahzad Akbar have lately been called in for questioning by the CBI about the aforementioned investigation.