- SC summons Saad for March 10 in his Paragon housing’s involvement in multi-billion housing scam
- Saad’s Paragon City ‘thickly’ involves in Rs14bn Ashiyana housing scam
- NAB has already established links of Paragon with Ashiyana scam
- Saad may be arrested after his appearance in SC
- NAB also initiates probe into railways dubious deals involving Saad Rafique
By Raza Ruman
( Pak Destiny) As the Supreme Court today summoned Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique on March 10 in his Paragon City’s alleged involvement in Rs14bn Ashiyana-e-Iqbal housing scam, the ‘blue-eyed’ of Nawaz Sharif’s ‘real time’ accountability has just begun. His heyday period seems to be over.
Now not only he will have to answer about billions he made through different shoddy land deals during the last two decades or so but also Pandora box of corruption in railways is likely to open against him once he is no more railways’ minister. Rafique being a favourite of Nawaz had been managing for years to evade accountability. The National Accountability Bureau in recent years had initiated inquiry against him but he managed to close the files as Qamaruz Zaman was chairman NAB at that time who was a ‘puppet’ of Nawaz Sharif.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar ordered Saad Rafique to explain his connection with this project.
The NAB has expanded its investigation of Ashiana Housing scandal and LDA City projects after arresting former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general Ahad Khan Cheema and Bismillah Engineering Company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shahid Siddique.
Saad Rafique has substantial shares in the Paragon Housing Society on Burki Road. Since the acquisition of some ‘controversial land’ the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had initiated probe into it during the Musharraf regime. But the matter had been swept under the carpet since the last PPP regime.
An official source told Pak Destiny that Saad Rafique this time may not manage things in NAB after the SC has taken notice of corruption in Paragon City and its connection with scams in LDA City and Ashiyana. “NAB will have to act against Saad Rafique and tell the court about his journey from a penniless man to billionaire,” he said.
NAB in last November launched investigation into a mega land scam involving Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique’s Paragon Housing Society in Lahore and the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC).
An agreement was signed between the PLDC and M/s Anhui Construction Engineering Group owned by Director Paragon Exchange Ali Sajjad, M/s Bismillah Engineering Company owned chief executive of Paragon City Nadeem Zia and M/s Sparco Group in 2013/14.
NAB initiated probe into the matters of the minister’s housing society after receiving a number of complaints regarding ‘illegal deal’ involving 3,000 kanal government land between the PLDC and the said companies. “The PLDC had signed an agreement with Bismillah Engineering and Sparco (front companies of Paragon Housing Society of Saad Rafique) for construction of 6,700 apartments on 1,000 kanals. In lieu of this construction, some 2,000 kanals were to be given to these two companies. These companies were to be given land corresponding to their construction work whereas the entire piece of land was given in possession of them (companies) without getting any construction work done.
Earlier it has been reported that Saad Rafique managed to ‘forcibly’ got vacated 10.5 Acres Railways land located at Singh Pura, GT Road, Lahore in order to make it part of his Paragon City Housing Society Lahore.
Rafique is accused of taking kickbacks in the import of ‘Railway Track’. In 2013 Rafique allegedly issued a tender notice of import of 40,000 tons of Railway Track and gave the contractor to ‘own favorite party’. Similarly the railways under Rafique had a dubious deal o purchase of 58 Railway Locomotives from China despite these locomotives were not better than the existing locomotive of Korean and Japanese origin. ‘Huge kickback’ was reportedly involved in the deal. This matter requires thorough investigation by NAB.
NAB may also investigate Rafique for illegally occupying 140 plots of the Imperial Garden Housing Society — located next to Paragon City Housing Society.
Shahid Butt, one of the owners of Imperial Garden Housing Society, had used NoC of Paragon Housing Society for Imperial Garden Housing Society as initially he did not have NoC for the said scheme.
Rafique’s journey from Penniless to Billionaire
After PML(N)’s coming to power in 2013, Khawaja Saad Rafique was given the portfolio of Federal Minister for Railways. However, from the outset, the voices of corruption/misuse of authority by Rafique echoed from different quarters. He is widely being discussed in the context of corruption, malpractices and abuse of power.
Khwaja Saad Rafique has risen through the cadres of PML under Nawaz Sharif in a span of 25 years which includes his stint as student leader of Muslim Students Federation in 1988-1990.
He has been elected thrice as MNA and once MPA in his political career. In the course of his political career he allegedly amassed huge wealth and assets through political influence and different tactics.
His political career started on a motorcycle in 1987, which was given by Ghulam Hyder Wyne, ex- CM Punjab. During those days his family was supported by Ch. Shujaat Hussain, chief of PMLQ, as he was orphaned in early age. Now he is believed to be a billionaire though he never disclosed the value of his actual assets in the Tax Returns.
This is a ‘classical example’ of this man’s journey from the ‘penniless to billionaire’ in such a short span of time. This is possible only through ‘illegal means’ anywhere in the world. Supreme Court Justice Asif Khosa started his landmark Panama Papers case with …behind every fortune there is a crime. This appears in the case of Saad Rafique too.