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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court Saturday reserved judgment in construction of the Navy Sailing Club and housing society in Islamabad.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah, after hearing the arguments, directed the parties to file submissions in writing within one week.

Qamar Afzal, appearing on behalf of Naval Farms, presented the federal government notification, through the Bahria Foundation, to construct the housing society.

He read the contents of the notification.

Upon that, the chief justice inquired was the Bahria Foundation is still working? The counsel replied, “yes”.

Justice Minallah then asked if the Foundation takes loan and defaults, then the case will be registered against the Naval Chief, because as per the notification the Naval Chief is responsible for any wrong.

He said, no one is above the law. The counsel informed that the Bahria Foundation was running various projects including oil refineries, boarding system, shipping and schooling.

The Naval Farms project is also part of the Bahria Foundation, he said, and added that the Foundation only, cannot receive loan from abroad.

The bench inquired whether every scheme is under the Foundation.

The lawyer responded that the Foundation has its own funds, and not obtained from the government of Pakistan.

The court observed that a few Navy officers decided to purchase land and manage it through private persons. He asked how the Navy Farms are of Bahria Foundation? Whether this land was purchased in the name of Navy Headquarters, or transferred to the Navy?

The chief justice remarked this was a very serious issue as how the officers could engage in private investment and the land be transferred in the name of the Pakistan Navy. Justice Minallah questioned where it was written in the law that the department ran a housing society.

Where it is written that in Zone-IV private person cannot have a housing society, but it could be allotted to the government department for housing.

Under what law, land in Zone-IV, was allotted to the Navy for constructing a housing society? The chief justice said they had heard that Pakistan Navy also ran a travel agency.

The counsel told he had no detail about it.

He said Navy Farms was the project of the Bahria Foundation.

The chief justice remarked that Bahria Foundation was a private scheme; therefore, its accounts should be audited.

The chief justice observed that if the secretary interior and some officers involved in private investment then it cannot be called investment of the Ministry of Interior.

He said similarly if anything was in the name of registrar High Court then its ownership would be of the High Court.

He said in this case, the ownership was with the Pakistan Navy and not any of its Directorate.

The court asked from the CDA officer why the authority refused to give land to a private person, Amir Khan, but later it was allotted to Navy for housing society. He said the CDA had destroyed the Master Plan of the federal capital. The CDA serve the rich, but demolish the kiosks of the poor people.

The CDA official informed that NOC was granted to the Navy for Agro Farming, but it violated the NOC and constructed housing society on it. Qamar Afzal informed that there were no commercial buildings in the Naval Farms. He said the land was used only for the armed force officers. The chief justice said the housing society was a private business, adding the welfare work was the job of the State, and not any of its departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020