By General Javed Ashraf Qazi
In the case of Royal Palm golf course, Railway did not spend a penny on its construction. The existing depleted golf course was given on lease to the highest bidding party for a period of 49-years. They were required to upgrade it to international standard at their own cost. The Railway is now getting Rs. 5 crore per year up from Rs. 12 per year which was being paid by previous lessees; Ishaq Khakwani and associates. The entire property including buildings constructed on it will belong to the railway at the end of the lease period and will revert without any payment. A 5 star hotel was also to come up on the canal bank but constant litigation by Khakwani and later Saad Rafique held up this project.
Khakwani took up this case first time in 2001 in the high court but it was thrown out. He then took it to various parliamentary committees alleging that it is a valuable land and has been given for less money not mentioning that he was giving only Rs.12 per year. He succeeded finally when ex-thief Justice Iftikhar took it up on a suo moto since it was time-barred. He tried it for one year but did not get anything. He finally retired without giving judgement but sent it to another bench. It has been to four benches and finally it is going to be tried again in March with the fifth bench.
Not finding anything to probe further or to grill the innocent, Iftikhar sent it to NAB as well. When NAB gave a clear report he got angry and sent it back for revision. Earlier NAB had cleared it in 2003. In 2014, NAB cleared it again but the report was withheld.
We shall fight it in the court but how long will the torture continue for benefiting the Railway and taking it out of deficit.
God help Pakistan. If we keep punishing those who work honestly and think above party lines, future is not very bright.