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Sunday Mar 06, 2016

Nobody stepped on our toes: Shahbaz

Nobody stepped on our toes: Shahbaz


LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday said nobody had stepped on their toes, adding that he would leave politics if NAB proved corruption of even a single penny against him during his three terms as the provincial chief executive.

Addressing a gathering here at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal in connection with the inauguration of the Land Record Management Information System (LRMIS), Shahbaz said: “The NAB is welcome to investigate corruption cases in the Punjab. If any charges of corruption are proved against me in my three tenures, I will quit politics for good and will be ready for punishment.”

Shahbaz said NAB had been investigating many projects in the Punjab for the last few months and his government was extending full cooperation.

He appreciated the bureau’s achievements but said there was room for more transparency in investigation.

About the landmark initiative, he said the record of around 55 million people’s properties had been computerized.

“I started this project in 1998 but no government paid attention to it later.”

“The previous martial law government spent $90 million on this project but did nothing. Has the NAB looked into this corruption scam?”

Shahbaz said friends from Sindh were wrong in saying that a hue and cry was made when NAB started an inquiry in the Punjab.

He said scandals involving billions of rupees with documentary evidence during the dictatorial era had surfaced but no action was taken.

The chief minister said he would soon share facts.

Shahbaz said he had no enmity with the NAB and the current chairman had served as commissioner in the Punjab in 1998.

Shahbaz said he had always supported accountability as corruption was the root cause of poverty but it was not appropriate to talk on the basis of suppositions.

The chief minister said the corruption committed by some tehsildars and patwaris was far more than the remaining total corruption in Pakistan.

Describing the computerisation of land record as a historic event, he said other obsolete systems were also being revamped, as the government had resolved to eliminate the archaic system and patwar culture from the province.

He said land record centres had started extending services – including obtaining proprietary deeds and transfer of land – in 143 tehsils of the province.

The land record of 23,000 villages has been computerised, while the process for urban property would also be started soon, he added.

He said the move would help eliminate disputes, unnecessary litigation, corruption and irregularities.

He said legislation would also be brought in the assembly to further strengthen the system.

Giving background of the venture, he said it was launched as a pilot project in 1997-98 under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a tehsil of Kasur in 1997-98 but halted after the Oct 12, 1999 coup.

He said though the then ruler started work on the project in three districts, nothing was done practically and $90 million of the poor nation was wasted.

Shahbaz said five million errors had been corrected and 100 persons involved in corruption removed from service through the new system.

He said third-party validation of the project would be arranged twice a year.

The chief minister also reiterated his resolve to eliminate child labour from brick kilns and said a comprehensive package had been given for educating the children.

Provincial Minister for Law Rana Sanaullah said the LRMIS had replaced centuries-old obsolete system for which the chief minister must be credited.—Originally published in The News

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