Islamabad: A Pakistani Parliamentary panel has asked an anti-corruption agency to start criminal proceedings against three retired military generals for their involvement in a shady deal to lease prime land to a private party.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament on Wednesday asked the National Accountability Bureau to start the proceedings against former Railways Minister Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi, former Chairman of Pakistan Railways Lt Gen Saeed-uz-Zafar and General Manager Maj Gen Hamid Hassan Butt.

The three generals were held responsible for manipulating a deal to lease prime land in Lahore to a private party that resulted in losses of Rs 25 billion for Pakistan Railways.

During a meeting of the parliamentary panel, NAB chief Fasih Bokhari said the management of Royal Palm Golf and Country Club, the beneficiary of the controversial land deal, had agreed to pay an additional Rs 16 billion under a revised agreement.

PAC Chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal said NAB should take action against the generals as their involvement in the matter had been proved.

"If you mind calling them generals, we may call them by their names but they shouldn't be spared and dealt with in accordance with the law of the land," Gondal was quoted as saying by the media.

Questioning the revised agreement NAB was finalizing between the railways and the Country Club, senior PML-n leader Khwaj Asif said the Rs 16 billion that the Country Club had agreed to pay in 39 years would not amount to more than Rs 1.5 billion if calculated as a net value asset.

Asif questioned the "soft handling" of former generals by NAB.

"In case of politicians, you people appear to be ever ready and deal with them with an iron hand but your handling of uniformed personnel is always different," he said.

NAB chief Bokhari, a former naval chief, said investigations were continuing into the role of the three retired generals.

The Country Club had been leased 141 acres of Pakistan Railways' land in the heart of Lahore in 2001.

According to findings of a special parliamentary committee, Pakistan Railways suffered a loss of Rs 25 billion as a result of the transfer of the land.

Briefing the lawmakers on the scam, Bokhari said his priority was to retrieve every penny lost in the shady deal.

As far as the controversial role of the former military officers is concerned, they were being investigated with the involvement of the army’s General Headquarters, he said.

He said that the revised deal had taken care of all loopholes in the 2001 deal and with the additional payment of Rs 16 billion, the loss caused to the national exchequer had been fully recovered.


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