LAHORE – The Punjab government has refused to hand over the possession of the President House Murree to the federal government, saying the place was illegally occupied by the former President Pervez Musharraf during his tenure. The provincial government has also asked the federal authorities to provide the ownership proof of the Presidency otherwise it would be deemed as the property of the Punjab. After receiving a reply from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in this regard, Chief Secretary Punjab has sent a letter to the federal government and another copy thereof to the provincial chief minister for his approval.
According to sources, a few days back, federal government had wrote to the Punjab government to hand over the President House Murree, it had occupied on August 19, 2008 with the help of DCO Rawalpindi and the police, to the Centre.
Responding to the letter, Chief Secretary Punjab, Javed Mehmood, has written a reply to the federal government and its copy would be sent to the provincial chief minister within couple of days for his approval.
According to the contents of the letter sent to the chief minister through Federal Secretary Housing Division, Samia-ul-Haq Khilji, the said property belonged to the Punjab government and former President Pervez Musharraf, during his undemocratic rule, had illegally occupied it and later turned it into the Chief Executive Office. The federal government has also been asked to provide proof of its ownership of the property if it has any.
“In the absence of any such evidence, the place will be deemed as the property of the Punjab government and does not fall within the jurisdiction of the federal government”, the letter said.
On the other hand, a high-ranking officer at the CM’s Secretariat said that a renowned bureaucrat was involved in this conspiracy, who had misguided the Prime Minister on this issue insignificant issue. He alleged the said official was also involved in preparing cases against President Asif Zardari in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and, later, an enraged PPP activist threw ink on him at the Lahore High Court.
“Now the said bureaucrat is conspiring against the democratic government in connivance with some hard-line PPP leaders with a view to derail the fledgling democracy in the country”, the official added.
However, he said the Punjab government was ready to hand over all items and valuables in the President House Murree to the Centre.