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Nation special report

KARACHI: In a follow up investigating action in huge scam that deprived people particularly the overseas Pakistanis, an accountability court here was informed on Tuesday that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had offered the National Accountability Bureau to help redress grievances of over 5,700 people allegedly cheated of billions of rupees in the name of the Fazaia Housing Scheme.

The housing scheme was introduced in London and other cities and many overseas Pakistanis reportedly showed their interest and booked the plot and residential units. The introducing material of the housing scheme was very attractive and eye-catching that caught the attention of interesting people.  The name of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was an element of guarantee itself.

Overseas Pakistanis have been advised to be careful while booking plots and residential units and should check all relevant documents and make sure their validity. They should also contact to Pakistan High Commission in this regard.

According to a Dawn report, on Tuesday, investigating officer Aslam Pervez Abro submitted a progress report in court with regard to the alleged Rs13 billion Fazaia Housing Scheme case.

Two builders, Tanveer Ahmed and Bilal Tanveer, have been arrested and are currently in NAB custody for allegedly depriving the public of Rs13bn through investments in the scheme.

Both the suspects were produced before the administrative judge of the accountability courts, Judge Farid Anwar Qazi, and the IO sought extension in their physical custody for further investigation.

The IO submitted a progress report through special public prosecutor Shahbaz Sahotra stating that during the interrogation further evidence had come on record that both the suspects were involved in cheating public at large in connivance with officers/officials of the PAF.

He mentioned that the PAF had submitted an application to the federal anti-graft watchdog offering to help get the grievances of the victims of the scam redressed by the detained builders. The application is currently with the bureau’s prosecution department for its legal vetting, IO Abro mentioned in the report.

The report added that the suspects had unlawfully taken over/encroached upon around 180 acres of government land earmarked for the K-IV project meant to supply additional water to the metropolis.

The report also mentioned that around 36 more joint bank accounts of the suspects had been detected, which were required to trace the money trail. Therefore, the prosecutor requested the court to extend the physical remand of the held suspects in NAB custody.

The judge extended their remand till Feb 6 with the direction that they be produced before the court on the next date with the progress report.

In the last hearing, the IO stated in a progress report that during the investigation it had surfaced that the PAF started this project in the name of rehabilitation of war heroes and martyrs’ families, but the record showed that of the 8,400 planned housing units, only 30 units were allotted to the families of shuhada, which negated the very purpose of the housing scheme.

It added that during scrutiny of the record it emerged that the detained builders in active connivance with PAF officials collected Rs18,208,247,781 in various heads. The report stated that both the builders collected the huge amount from 5,732 individuals, adding that the figure did not include the PAF personnel who were lured into purchasing housing units within their own department.

In execution and launching of the scheme, the suspects blatantly flouted the relevant laws and carried out its advertisement, sale, development and booking without getting approval of its layout plan from the Malir Development Authority (MDA) and no-objection certificate from the Sindh Building Control Authority, it stated.