Centre in a bid to regain control of Punjab



LAHORE:

 

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is trying to regain control of its once stronghold Punjab as it has gone from intercepting postings of key officers to intervening in administrative affairs of the provincial government.

In the latest move on Saturday, the Establishment Division has ordered an inquiry into the demolishment of an illegally built construction on a disputed piece of land on Link Road by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).

According to the LDA, a complaint was lodged by an overseas Pakistani against the illegal occupation of his land, and subsequent construction of a plaza on it.

LDA Town Planning Officer Ali Nusrat said, “We served notices on the said property, asking them to bring forward any relevant approval by the LDA.

However, upon failing to do so, the building has been demolished.”

The LDA, he said, .was operating well within its ambit of power. However, the federal government thought otherwise, as according to a tweet posted by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Attaullah Tarar, “The Establishment Division has decided to conduct an inquiry after receiving a request regarding the officers involved in the occupation of Model Town Link Road Lahore.”

He said, “The incident which took place in broad daylight and is now being seized by the police, is a great injustice.”

He concluded his tweet by reminding the people that courts “are closed on Saturdays”, implying that the option to approach the court was not available on the given day. He also shared a video of the demolition.

The federal government has already locked horns with the Punjab government over the transfer of Lahore CCPO Ghulam Mehmood Dogar to the Centre.

However, the CCPO, who was under the administrative control of the Punjab government, refused to budge on the Establishment Division’s orders.

Additionally, the Centre was not giving the provincial government a permanent chief secretary for over a month, forcing the latter to operate with a makeshift arrangement. The Centre also denied giving the Punjab government permission to import wheat required to overcome an expected shortfall.

Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister on Interior and Information Omer Sarfraz Cheema told The Express Tribune that the federal government could not intervene in the LDA affairs.

He said, “From the get-go, the federal government has adopted a non-cooperative attitude on a wide range of issues. From the CS to the CCPO to this LDA, it seems the federal government has gone ‘bonkers’.”

Provincial Minister for Local Government and Community Development Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed said, “The Establishment Division has no authority to interfere in the affairs of the LDA. In what capacity have they received a complaint?”

He said that demolition comes under the LDA’s jurisdiction so there was nothing illegal about it, adding that any complaint against the matter could only be lodged before the relevant appellate authority or courts.

He said that to say officers involved would be investigated would not be possible and this thought on its own was an intention to encroach upon the Punjab government’s domain.

Tarar was not available for comments despite multiple attempts.



Originally published at tribune.com.pk

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