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India, Bangladesh owe SBP over Rs12b

India, Bangladesh owe SBP over Rs12b

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan still awaits settlement of Rs7.3 billion in cash as well as assets worth Rs5.2 billion, which India and Bangladesh owe only to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The issue of recovery of cash and assets from India and Bangladesh came under discussion as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday discussed audit paras related to the Finance Division.

The PAC meeting, chaired by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Naveed Qamar, directed the division to take steps for recovery of the money and submit a report within three months.

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Finance Ministry officials told the panel that only the SBP had compiled the assets and liabilities India and Bangladesh owe to Pakistan while the rest of the state departments had forgotten to claim their right.

“Consolidate all claims [after getting information from the rest of the departments] so that the matter can be taken up with India,” Qamar directed the Finance Division.

The issue of money and assets dates back to 1947 and 1971, respectively, the years of partition of the subcontinent and the fall of Dhaka. The committee was told that division of assets and liabilities of the Reserves Bank of India is still incomplete despite passage of decades.

Encroachment issue

The PAC also discussed the issue of encroachment on a 3,000 square yards SBP land, located in sector G-7/1 in Islamabad. The members were surprised when they were told how a prayer leader not only illegally encroached upon the land but also constructed a seminary there, while also tactically managing to get it registered through the Registrar Joint Stock Company.

The encroached land, according to SBP officials, is currently valued at Rs77 million.

The committee was told that the SBP intended to construct a staff colony at the said piece of land. However, the project was abandoned later as a policy decision. Meanwhile, a temporary mosque was constructed on the plot with the support of SBP employees and the bank appointed a prayer leader for it.

The prayer leader got retired under voluntary separation scheme in 2001. However, he handed over management of the temporary mosque without any authority to another person, who later illegally established a religious seminary adjacent to the mosque.

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In 2006, the new prayer leader allegedly misrepresented himself as administrator of the seminary and got it registered through Registrar Joint Stock Company by citing the location of the colony as its temporary address without consent of or intimation to the bank.

The Finance Division officials informed the PAC that they recently approached Islamabad’s chief commissioner to revoke the illegal registration. However, the office of the chief commissioner said registration of the mosque and seminary could never be cancelled, once they were built.

Expressing his annoyance, Naveed Qamar directed the SBP to vigorously follow the matter and take it up with all relevant authorities. “State land should not be treated as freebie,” he said.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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