IHC dismisses petitions seeking to stop auction of Nawaz Sharif’s property

ISLAMABAD (APP): A division bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday dismissed the petitions seeking to stop the auction of property owned by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and declare them as non maintainable.

The decision said that the IHC couldn’t hear the case under section 199 when the petitioners had others forums for relief. The litigants should have filed the application to the trial court to stop the auction, it added. 

A division bench comprising Justice Aamir Faro-oq and Justice Tariq Meh-mood Jahangiri announced the decision which was earlier reserved after listening arguments from the petitioners’ counsel against the property auction in toshakhana reference. The three separate petitions were filed by Mian Iqbal Barkat, Aslam Aziz and Muhammad Ashraf Malik through their counsel Qazi Misbah to IHC.

During the course of proceeding, the petitioners’ lawyer contended that an Accountability Court of Islamabad on April 22, ordered the authorities concerned for auctioning of the property owned by former prime minister.

He said that the property in Sheikhupura was purchased before the filing of reference against Nawaz Sharif. The lawyer also gave references of the decisions of Supreme Court and Indian courts in similar cases, and said that a session court of the area concerned would decide the matter if the property was situated in other district. The lawyer prayed the court to stop the property auction scheduled for tomorrow. Justice Farooq asked the lawyer that why the petition was filed in delay if the auction was scheduled for tomorrow.

Qazi Misbah said that the petitions were delayed due to eid holidays in the country. To a query by the bench, the lawyer said that they could file civil suite but it couldn’t stop the property auction. The lawyer said that the petitions had objected the auctions owning to land purchase deed, lease and family settlements. The petitioner had been given the said house under a family settlement in 2007. He further said that the said land was agricultural and a cemetery of Sharif family was also there. The lawyer pleaded that the three petitioners had invested their money on the property and it was their right to recover the same.

The court subsequently dismissed the petitions while declaring them non maintainable.

It may be mentioned here that the petitioner Mian Iqbal Barkat adopted the stance that House No. 135 Upper Mall Lahore was belong to Itifaq Group, which was jointly owned by Mian Muhammad Sharif, Mian Muhammad Shafi, Mian Mirajuddin, Mian Barkat Ali, Mian Abdul Aziz and Mian Idrees Bashir families. Petitioner Muhammad Ashraf stated that the Sheikhupura administration had fixed May 20, a date to auction the confiscated property of Nawaz Sharif. He said that he had already purchased 88 kanal land from Nawaz Sharif and had paid Rs75 millions against it. He, however, said that the deed couldn’t be implemented due to the arrest of former prime minister. He said that he had approached the civil court for implementation on sell deed. Aslam Aziz said that district administration was confiscating 105 kanal land for auction. He said that he had invested heavy amount on agriculture project at said land. There was a risk of wastage of his investment if the land was auctioned, he said.

The petitioners prayed the court to set aside the decision of accountability court for confiscation and auction of the above property.