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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday disposed of Bahria Town (Pvt) Limited, Karachi, application to defer the payment of installment of 16,896 acres of land purchased in the area of Malir Development Authority (MDA).

A three-member special bench, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, heard the BTLK application to postpone the payment of installment.

Bahria Town (Pvt) Limited Karachi had filed an application last week under Order XXXIII Rule 6 of Supreme Court Rules, 1980.

Barrister Ali Zafar, appearing on behalf of the BTLK, requested the bench to defer the payment for one year due to coronavirus. Justice Muneeb Akhtar said the government had provided relief to the businessmen due to the pandemic.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the court's decision was not an agreement, which could be changed with the passage of time. He added the implementation bench did not have the power to change the decision of the court. Ali Zafar argued that the implementation bench is required to first decide to whom (Sindh or the federal government) money had to be paid.

Justice Muneeb said Bahria Town should deposit the installments in the Supreme Court as per its direction.

The counsel said Bahria Town would become insolvent, if it continued to deposit money.

Justice Faisal said for the time being, the BTLK application was not acceptable.

Upon that, Ali Zafar withdrew the application.

The court adjourned the hearing sine die.

Zafar stated that against Rs460 billion, the BTLK had paid Rs57,345,490,293 to date, while up to November 2019, the BTLK was required to pay Rs32,500,000,000.

The BTLK is also facing a problem in selling its commercial land to the corporate entities locally and internationally for generating revenue to pay back the liability of Rs460 billion due to non-availability of lease entitlements available to it for onward sub-lease.

The offer of Rs460 billion was made by the Bahria Town (Pvt) Limited Karachi before a bench of the Supreme Court on March 21, 2019, for purchase of land measuring 16,896 acres in the area of Malir Development Authority.

The offer was accepted by the apex court with certain terms and conditions.

The Supreme Court in its order dated March 21, 2019 said: "BTLK is permitted to allot and otherwise deal with 16,896 acres the property in question as a builder/developer only.

"On receipt of entire payment leasehold rights in the property in question of 16,896 acres may be transferred on lease by the government of Sindh and/or the Malir Development Authority to BTLK for a period of 99 years or such other tenure in accordance with the applicable laws and BTLK shall in accordance with the terms and conditions already agreed with the allottees transfer or cause to be transferred such rights in favour of the said allottees."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020