NAB, FIA probing corruption in Islamabad airport construction, says Pak minister

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Islamabad [Pakistan], October 2 (ANI): Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were separately investigating the irregularities and corruption in the construction of New Islamabad International Airport, local media reported quoting the country's aviation minister.

According to The Nation, minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan informed the country's Senate on Friday, while responding to a call attention notice moved by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Mohsin Aziz on construction flaws in the airport building.

The minister confirmed that construction defects had been found in the main and cargo buildings of the airport that got completed during the last Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) government tenure.

"We have found a number of irregularities (in construction of airport) and it is a long story of corruption," The Nation reported quoting the minister. The minister said that there were construction defects in the second runway of the airport as well and this government had to do a patchwork on it.

The Nation further reported that aviation minister Khan informed the upper house of Parliament that Islamabad Airport which was inaugurated for construction on May 6, 2006, with the approved PC-1 of Rs 38 billion could be completed with the total revised budget of Rs 1.25 billion during 2018. He held the last previous regimes of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and PML-N responsible for the escalation of the cost of the project.

He said that 18 different packages were announced by previous governments for the construction of the airport but these were awarded only to "accommodate" and benefit the blue-eyed contractors and a 50 per cent mobilisation allowance was issued in advance to them.

He said that some matters regarding flawed construction were in litigation and some were in arbitration and an arbitration order has been issued in favour of the government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The arbitrator who is former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (retd) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani has ordered recovery of mobilisation advance, he added. "But such orders have also been challenged in the court to linger on the matter."

He added that Supreme Court had also taken suo motu notice on the issue and referred the matter to NAB and FIA for investigation. He assured the house that investigations into alleged malpractices would be completed and recoveries would be made in the matter.

Meanwhile, in a tweet on Friday, Ghulam Sarwar Khan reiterated that there were no contacts between him and the leadership of PML-N, asking media to avoid airing concocted and unauthenticated news.

"As already said, I have no intention to join the PML-N," he said in a tweet. He also clarified that there was no mention of this false and concocted news during the meeting chaired by the Prime Minister. (ANI)

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