The PTI-led government’s Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Pakistan Banao Certificate (PBC) for 8.5 million Pakistanis living abroad eyeing to pocket $300 to $500 million through this scheme till June this year. The launching ceremony was held on 31st January 2019 in Islamabad. PBC was a coupon securities carrying coupon of 6.25 percent payable semiannually and 6.75 percent payable semiannually for 3 and 5-Years respectively.
Addressing the launching ceremony of the ‘Pakistan Banao Certificates’ Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed that the Pakistan will come out of difficult period soon as crisis is not over for country as yet. But it got tepid response. The reason is that Pak expats were already suffering in the conjurer hands of the country’s establishment. They are facing consequences of blind faith on the magicians of Ministry of Maritime Affairs, informed sources disclosed.
The game was initiated by Port Qasim Authority (PQA) officials in the regime of military dictator Pervez Musharraf by announcing Al-Watan Industrial Scheme for overseas Pakistanis in year 2004. They offered more than 1300 industrial plots of 1000-sq. yd. to non-resident Pakistanis against the remittances in US dollar. Collected full and final payment in millions of dollars; issued allotment letters for the plots in Eastern Industrial Zone of PQA during past twelve years; but finally announced in year 2017 that the said scheme was being wind up due to non-development.
In this regard Manager Estate, Industrial Management Department; Port Qasim Authority Karachi wrote a letter on 23-02-2017 to Mrs. Samia Kaleem; one of the allottees. He informed that Al-Watan Scheme land could not be developed and it has been estimated subject to all allottees paying the enhanced Peripheral Development Charges at present the development cost to an allottee of a plot will be ten times more than the Peripheral Development Charges received by PQA from the allottee.
“PQA Board in the above circumstances has liquidated the Al-Watan Scheme and the Allottees shall be refunded each payment for Peripheral Development Charges, land rent and maintenance charges with interest at the rate of 10 percent per annum on each received payment(s) up to the cut-off date 25-05-2016. There will not be any interest paid on account of mark-up on delayed payment(s). Furthermore, no interest will be payable after the said cut-off date 25-05-2016. You are directed to return the original allotment letter and other documents on receipt of which your entitled refund shall be remitted to you,” the letter concluded.
Responding this letter Aga Faquir Mohammad, Advocate Supreme Court on behalf of his client Samia Kaleem sent a legal notice to Chairman Port Qasim Authority on 19-10-2018. He called upon the chairman to audit the accounts of the Al-Watan Scheme and to allot the plot of lands to all non-resident Pakistanis who had made purchase including his client within two months from the service of this notice failing which his client will file public importance litigation against Port Qasim Authority (PQA) and all the officers who were involved in such illegal and fraudulent act.
The lawyer added that the Al-Watan Industrial Scheme was not a legal entity, it is scheme for development and allotment of industrial plots to non-resident Pakistanis by PQA and therefore, the question of winding-up of the scheme does not arise and it is an act of fraud. There is no condition in the agreement with non-resident Pakistanis for refund or return of the money paid by the non-resident Pakistanis, he said.
The above legal notice was replied by Secretary Tipu Sultan Shaikh; instead of Chairman PQA on 7th January 2019. Shaikh stated that under Al-Watan Scheme, the Authority had allotted plots measuring 1000 square yards to the Overseas Pakistanis for industrialization purposes. However, the land could not be developed for a number of reasons including but not limited to default/ failure of most of allottees in payment of Peripheral Development Charges and other applicable charges in time. Resultantly, the development cost has extensively multiplied and became impracticable. Hence, the PQA Board being Competent Authority has liquidated the Al-Watan Scheme.
Informed sources disclosed that the scheme spread over 500 acres and involving plots of 1000 square yards, was aimed at setting up cottage industry in the port area. It was initiated by the then minister for ports and shipping Babar Ghori. There were around 1,300 plots under the scheme and were sold for Rs330,000 each equivalent to US dollars in 2006. By calculating the average exchange rate of Rs 60/- in 2006 it was costing US$ 5500 while the total estimated amount for 1300 plots becomes 7.15 million dollar.
The sources said that a number of allottees had challenged the liquidation of Al-Watan Scheme in the Courts, which were pending final adjudication. On the other hand, many complaints were also filed with Federal Ombudsman’s office Islamabad. Hafeez Ahsan Ahmed Khokhar, Senior Advisor (Law)/ Grievance Commission for Overseas Pakistanis was the dealing officer at Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat; to whom Secretary PQA Tipu Sultan Shaikh had informed about the Board decision through his letter dated 14th May, 2019.
However, the most amazing fact is that watchdogs of the white collar crimes in establishment of the country i.e. FIA and NAB were yet not aware of this more than seven (7) million dollars fraud by the higher officials of PQA and their collaborators.