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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government has corrected record of 104 acres of land in Karachi with the direction that the land measuring 1.08 acres in possession of Army Station Headquarters in excess of the arbitration award may be allowed to remain for their utilization, well-placed sources told Business Recorder.

On August 17, 2021, Ministry Housing and Works briefed the Cabinet that the President of Pakistan had granted 99-year lease of 104 acres of land at Karachi to Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (now Pakistan Cricket Board) for construction of National Cricket Stadium and other commercial activities on a summary submitted by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism on June 18, 1980. Subsequently, Pak PWD signed lease agreement on December 6, 1980 @ 25 paisa per square yard annually. Later on, lease agreement was extended till 2018 on current rates, on the request of Pakistan Cricket Board.

The Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), stated that the leased land had been encroached by various organizations and the total area in possession of PCB is 45.7 acres out of 104.5 acres. He requested a fresh lease agreement of land in-possession.

Later on, Prime Minister's Office stated that Chairman PCB called on the Prime Minister on June 15, 2020 and requested correction in record and proposed a committee comprising the representative of Ministry of Housing & Works, IPC and PCB and requested to take necessary action.

The Committee deliberated the matter with all stakeholders and decided that in order to determine total area and boundaries of the leased land, a survey may be conducted by Survey of Pakistan. Accordingly, Survey of Pakistan furnished detailed report and revealed that total area of leased land is 106.22 acres instead of 104.5 acres, out of which 48.2 acres lies with PCB and rest had been occupied by various entities.

According to sources judicial history of the dispute started in 1988 for right of 17 acres of land between Army Station Headquarters and Pakistan Cricket Board, and both parties finally agreed to resolve/settle the matter outside the courts.

A conciliation committee was constituted, thereafter, which decided to refer the dispute to a sole arbitrator.

S Afzal Haider, Advocate Supreme Court (Ex-Law Minister, Government the Punjab) was nominated as a sole arbitrator with consent of both parties. Arbitration Award was announced on December 08, 2000, wherein it noted that Pakistan Steel Mills in 1980 wanted a plot between National Stadium and Directorate of Army Stores and Clothing for parking of cars. The Station Commander lent an area of 17 acres on temporary basis; therefore, the Arbitrator decided that land measuring 17 acres is the property of Station Commander. As per fresh mapping of the Survey of Pakistan, an excess land of 1.08 acres was under Army Station Headquarters' possession.

It was submitted that the President of Pakistan had allotted land measuring 83.05 acres to Agha Khan Hospital and Medical College Foundation, Karachi, in two parts (63.05 & 20.00 acres) on September 20, 1980 & November 17, 1980 respectively, free of charge for the construction of charitable hospital and medical college. As per report of Survey of Pakistan, 7.39 acres of land was covered by KDA water pipeline, whereas 80.04 acres land remained in their possession.

In order to settle issues relating to leased land, a final meeting was held on June 04, 2021 amongst representatives of the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination, PCB, M/s Agha Khan Foundation and Ministry of Housing & Works.

Following decisions were taken in the meeting: (i) to include 7.39 acres (covered by KDA water pipeline) in already possessed land measuring 48.20 acres (total 55.59 acres) by PCB and sign revised lease agreement with PCB at the current rates; (ii) the land measuring 1.08 acres in possession of Army Station Headquarters in excess of the arbitration award may be allowed to remain for their utilization; (iii) the land area of 24.21 acres in possession of National Sports Training & Coaching Centre may be allowed for their utilization as they possessed Presidential approval. Further, Pakistan Sports Board may be asked to pay the rent / lease money of the possessed land to Ministry of Housing & Works; (iv) the land in possession of Agha Khan University Hospital, being legally allotted, may remain with them'; and (v) matter of 3.30 acres will be taken up with Government of Sindh for settlement of allottees of land, occupied by KDA, at any other place or pay lease amount to Federal Government (i.e., Ministry of Housing & Works) and sign the lease agreement.

In terms of Rules of Business, 1973 land and buildings belonging to the Federation wherever situated and revenues derived there from have been mandated to the Ministry of Housing & Works.

The Ministry of Housing and Works stated that the title of the land lies with Federal Government. As such, Federal Government having ownership of the land is competent to take decisions with regard to the land in question.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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