By IKRAM BOKHARI
ISLAMABAD, Oct 2: The appointment of Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon as Gilgit-Baltistan’s (GB) governor is another addition to the series of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s controversial decisions. Reports of the new governor’s alleged role in the Rs320 million corruption surfaced soon after his oath-taking ceremony.
The NAB has launched an inquiry into the matter. The corruption charges have been leveled by the Defence Ministry and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The GB governor, however, rejected the charges and came up with counter-allegations against government officials misusing powers. He claimed that the CAA had to pay Rs260 million to him as compensation for his lands. Raja Maqpoon, however, admitted that he is going to strike an out-of-court deal on the issue with the CAA in a few days.
According to sources and background documents, the CAA has served a notice on Mr Maqpoon to repay about Rs60 million for ‘stealing’ tons of soil from the CAA lands and selling to Wapda for using in the construction of Satpara Dam. The CAA has filed a suit against Raja Jalal for not returning the amount he had collected ‘illegally’ from Wapda. The CAA has also issued a legal notice to Mr Maqpoon for illegally occupying hundreds of kanals of CAA land and appointing his men on the land as cultivators.
It is evident from the documents that the father of Raja Jalal had sold 1,000 kanals to the defence ministry for construction of the airport at the time, and before the construction of Satpara Dam.
This land has been transferred. But after the death of his father, Raja Jalal stealthily occupied a large chunk of the land sold to the CAA.
Soon after the situation came to fore, the CAA issued notice to Raja Jalal asking him to return the amount he received from Wapda.
Raja Jalal filed a case in a civil court Skardu in 2002.
The aforesaid land was transferred to the CAA by 2000 under transfer order No 1631, 1750 and 1751.
As the case was nearing conclusion Raja Jalal sought permission from the court to make amendments in his petition which was rejected.
Raja Jalal’s appeal in the court of District and Sessions Judge Skardu, was also dismissed.
The PTI leader filed an appeal in the GB’s Chief Court. But a division bench of the court comprising Justice Malik Haq Nawaz and Justice Muhammad Omar, also rejected his plea on October 4, 2017, upholding the civil court decision and ordered Raja Maqpoon to pay all expenses incurred in the case.
The defence ministry was seeing all the matters before the formation of the CAA.
Raja Jalal raised the point in his plea for amendments that the ministry be removed as a respondent and the CAA be kept as sole party.
The department informed the court that the CAA was completely under the ministry therefore, defence secretary cannot be removed from the case.
The court rejected Raja Jalal’s plea.
Talking to Amjad Hussain Advocate, the counsel for GB governor said, “The matter is very old. Now Raja Sahib has become governor, therefore, the people are blowing it out of proportion. This is not corruption but a dispute between two parties. Sometime back a former deputy commissioner got the land transferred wrongfully.
District Attorney, Skardu, Qadir Hussain maintained: “We are assisting the court for protection of state land. All the lands have been transferred to CAA. I am not aware of the decision of the Chief Court. The case will be restarted in civil court Skardu on the receipt of an authenticated copy of the CC decision”.
The people of GB are criticising PM Imran’s choice for GB governor.
The name of Dr Amir Muhammad Khan for Balochistan governor was withdrawn after similar charges surfaced against him.
As Raja Jalal too is facing corruption charges, he should not have been appointed the governor.
Sources close to the ruling party said PTI senior leader Jahangir Tareen played a key role in Raja Jalal’s appointment as governor.