Top federal secretaries lock horns over transfer of officer ‘backing land grabbers’
Islamabad (TP) July 25, 2020: Two top federal secretaries have locked horns over the transfer of an officer of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration who was asked to report to Establishment Division after an inquiry found him guilty of misuse of powers and backing land grabbers in the federal capital.
The ICT Administration officer, backed by the interior secretary, has refused to relinquish responsibilities and report to Establishment Division, as the ED’s transfer order (letter) has been countered by the interior secretary, who has contended (in a letter) that the ICT Administration’s officer(s), how so much culpable they may be, could not be transferred without his prior approval.
Credible sources told The Punch that the Prime Minister’s Office had formed an inquiry committee headed by Secretary Establishment Dr Ejaz Munir to probe the backing of land grabbers in Ghauri Town allegedly by ICT Administration officials and the police.
According to the sources, the inquiry committee had found Islamabad Capital Territory Administration Assistant Deputy Commissioner (General) Umar Liaquat Randhawa and Deputy Commissioner Saad Bin Asad and other guilty of backing a powerful figure grabbing 106 kanal of land in Ghauri Town and develop structures illegally and without the approval of the Capital Development Authority, which had earlier declared the whole settlement illegal.
According to sources, the inquiry had found both the Randhawa and Asad guilty of misusing their powers and backing the land grabbers.
On the basis of the inquiry report, the sources said, Umar Liaquat Randhawa and Saad Bin Asad were made OSDs and through letters, asked to report to the Establishment Division.
Interestingly, Randhawa refused to relinquish his official responsibilities after Secretary Interior Yousuf Naseem Khokar raised an objection to the Establishment Division’s letter contending that since the ICT falls within the purview of the interior ministry, no officer could be suspended or transferred without his prior approval. The interior secretary has contended that the interior ministry was the sole authority to suspend or transfer officers of the ICT Administration.
The Establishment Division has again sent a letter to Randhawa, seeking an explanation as to why he has not relinquished his official responsibilities and report to the Establishment Division.
According to sources, Revenue Department Additional Collector Asadullah is also facing an inquiry for the misuse of powers, while the Koral Police Station House Officer Ishtiaq Shah has been suspended on the charges of abetting the land grabbers in rural areas of Islamabad including Ghauri Town.
The sources also claimed Yousaf Naseem Khokhar was protecting the land grabbers by refusing to relieve Randhawa of his responsibilities, a charge which could not be verified independently.
The sources said Randhawa was also found guilty of issuing weapon licences illegally through a contractor in Rawalpindi on the directions of interior secretary.
The sources also claimed that Khokar was earlier holding a senior position in the Punjab government, however, his services were withdrawn by the Establishment Division after he was accused of colluding with the land grabbers in the province. This allegation could not be verified independently.
An official of the PM Office told The Punch on condition of anonymity that the inquiry report was pending with the Prime Minister’s Office and soon Prime Minister Imran Khan will take up the matter and the guilty officers will be punished. The official said that the prime minister has zero-tolerance for land grabbers and corrupt officers.