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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court directed the Sindh government and the Malir Development Authority (MDA) to survey the land on which Bahria Town Limited, Karachi (BTLK) has launched its housing society.

The court asked Advocate General Sindh Hassan Akbar and MDA’s counsel Farooq H Naek they can take assistance from SPARCO and any other departments for surveying the land. It also ordered that a representative of Bahria Town is also notified about the date and time of the survey.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, and comprising Justice Aminud Din Khan and Justice Athar Minallah, on Wednesday, heard Bahria Town’s petition for the implementation of March 21, 2019 verdict.

MDA’s counsel and Bahria Town’s lawyer told the bench that they don’t have any objection if the amount received in instalments is given to the Sindh government.

The bench also directed the Sindh government to submit a report on the land encroached upon by Bahria Town, as claimed by some petitioners.

Advocate Salahuddin Ahmed, appearing on behalf of three private persons informed the bench that the land approved for a housing society of Bahria Town in Karachi was 16,896 acres but it went to occupy 40,000 acres of land and is also encroaching upon the land of the Kirthar National Park.

Salman Aslam Butt, who represented BTLK, said that besides 16,896 acres, which was acquired from MDA, his client also obtained land from private persons.

The bench asked the advocate general that in the survey they shall consider this aspect, and place the photographs and the Google map of the land.

In the last hearing, the bench issued notices to the persons and the entities from where money was received in the Supreme Court account regarding payment of instalment of Rs460 billion.

Aslam Butt told that he will be filing power of attorney on behalf of Malik Riaz Hussain and may take instruction from his family members, whether they also wanted him to represent them, as well.

The chief justice said before passing any order they want to give opportunity to all the parties as it may not affect their interest.

Justice Athar remarked the SC’s judgment dated 21-03-2019 has attained finality and it will be intolerable if this is not implemented. The Court will not allow the judgment to go without compliance, adding non-implementation of it will have consequences.

Aslam Butt said his client is ready to make payment of instalment if it is given the land committed by the MDA. Butt told that the apex court on 21-03-2019 had passed a consent order, wherein, Bahria Town was supposed to be given 16,896 acres of land by the MDA, but so far it had provided 11,747 acres.

The chief justice said the Court had passed the order in 2019, but Bahria Town filed an application objecting to this order in 2021. He asked the counsel whether he wanted the project undone. He inquired which jurisdiction Bahria Town wanted to invoke before the Court, adding whether it wanted review jurisdiction, came before the court under Section 12 (2) or contempt jurisdiction. He further asked whether Bahria Town wanted to make a payment or not?

Aslam Butt said his client will make payment of instalment after re-assessment of the apex court’s order dated 21-03-2019. Justice Athar asked him not to trivialise the sanctity of the apex court’s judgment passed under Article 184 (3) of the constitution.

Justice Athar said Bahria Town accepted the agreement for payment of Rs460 billion to avoid NAB proceeding against it. Butt said his client has been discriminated against, as its competitor was given land at a lower rate in Sindh. The chief justice remarked that they are not sitting here to do business; if Bahria Town entered into a bad business then it should not blame the apex court.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Parvez Nov 09, 2023 03:45pm
I was under the impression that the SC had ruled on this issue and levied a huge penalty ...... this Bahria Town again resurfacing in the SC gives the perception that for the powerful the law is flexible ......let us hope this perception is unfounded.
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