ISLAMABAD: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the new Islamabad airport would be completed till April 2015 as 63 per cent work had been completed so far.
The three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Jawad S. Khawaja, resumed the hearing of case regarding irregularities in the construction of new Islamabad airport.
At the outset of hearing, Senior Law Officer of the CAA Obaid-ur-Rehman Abbasi informed the court that three projects pertaining to supply of water and electricity, and construction of roads, were not yet completed.
Irfan Karim Kundi advocate told the bench that the total cost of the project was estimated at Rs 32 billion, which was expected to raise upto Rs 83 billion till the completion. Rs 1 billion had already been released by the government.
The Chief Justice observed that the government had admitted irregularities in the construction of new airport but it’s did not take any action against the corrupt elements. The project launched in 1988, has been delayed, he added.
Justice Jawad S. Khawaja remarked that the government was talking about the construction of a third airport in Islamabad, but the under construction airport neglected by the previous regimes, was not being completed.
Khalid Chaudhry, counsel for the CAA Director General, said his client, who served in the Pakistan Air Force for 35 years, was appointed as chief coordinator of the mega project on July 18, 2012 for two years.
He said the airport would be completed by July next year and operational from September same year.
He said the total revenue of CAA was Rs 18 billion in 2012, which was raised to Rs 39 billion during the current year.
He said the administration had purchased Rs 550 million equipment for the new airport six year ago, but it had not been used.
Deputy Attorney General Shah Khawar told the court that the government had decided to refer the case to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for further investigation.
The court expressing its displeasure, asked that why did the CAA DG no take any action despite knowing about irregularities in the airport’s construction.
Petitioner Asaf Fasihuddin Vardak said that according to General Shahid Niaz’s report, the CAA had not taken steps for supply of water and electricity, and sewage system.
He said the CAA had suggested 16 names for consultants but only two were found on the site.
The Deputy Attorney General submitted a summary, which stated that the Cabinet Division had written a letter to the Secretary to Prime Minister, conveying that the airport’s master plan was prepared in 2006 with estimated cost of Rs 37 billion, which was raised by 10 per cent after changes in the plan.
He said the CAA had already asked the NAB Rawalpindi to probe the cost escalation and Aurangzaib Khan was nominated as a focal person for the purpose.
He said that the government had a clear stance that the corrupt should be dealt with iron hands.
Wazir Bandial, counsel for a private construction company, told the court that the company had to lay down 17 kilometer long pipeline for water supply from the Shahpur Dam.
The court, while issuing a notice to Attorney General for Pakistan Munir A. Malik for getting the government’s viewpoint, adjourned the case till September 4 (Wednesday).