Supreme Court

SC orders new survey on demarcation of Bahria Town Karachi

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its judgment in the Bahria Town implementation case and sought a new report from the Survey of Pakistan on the demarcation of Bahria Town Karachi while taking notice of the occupation of more land than the allotted one.

A three-member SC bench headed by Justice Faisal Arab and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar heard the Bahria Town implementation case and two separate applications for transferring the entire money deposited by the Bahria Town Pvt Ltd with the apex court to the federal and Sindh governments receptively.

During the course of proceedings, the court remarked that it reserved the decision on the objections of the Sindh government and the reservations of the federal government. The court would consider all the points in the written decision.

Justice Faisal Arab said the court would ask the Survey of Pakistan for a new report on the demarcation of Bahria Town in the written order.

To a court query, Barrister Ali Zafar, counsel for the Bahria Town, said his client was supposed to deposit Rs 32 billion with the SC by end of July while it had deposited more than Rs 57 billion. His client had moved an application for relief in payment of installments due to the COVID-19 situation.

Noting that Bahria Town had deposited amount more than the installments, Justice Faisal Arab observed seeking relief was premature.

Addressing the Bahria Town’s counsel, he said reports were circulating on the social media and print media that the Bahria Town had acquired more land than the allotted one.

Ali Zaffar said that Bahria Town was allotted 16,896 acres of land but it had not get the whole land. There was no truth in the social media reports, which would be addressed by him separately.

He pleaded the court to direct the Sindh government for allocation of the remaining land to the Bahria Town.

Upon this, Justice Faisal Arab observed a survey should be conducted to determine how much land was occupied by the Bahria Town.

He ordered the Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and other agencies to conduct surveys and submit reports.

The court wanted to see if Bahria Town had occupied more land than the allotted.

The Attorney General said federal agencies should be included for conducting the survey.

The money deposited by Bahria Town should be given to the federation under Article 78 and an application in that regard had already been submitted with the court, he added.

The Advocate General Sindh, who appeared before the court through video link, during the last hearing it was proposed to form a committee on the issue.

He raised objections over the formation of the committee and the participation of the federation in it.

He said the provincial government had also reservations over the presence of a citizen nominated by the federation in the committee.

Justice Faisal Arab said if the bench ordered to include the citizen as a representative of the federation then the parties would have no objection.

Both the Attorney General and Advocate General Sindh agreed to the proposal.

The Advocate General Sindh also opposed the authority given to the federation for starting of new development projects.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan asked whether that power could be given to the committee or the court.

He, however, observed that the court would keep Sindh’s point in mind while making the decision.

Justice Faisal Arab said the interest rates were falling day by day and the court wanted that the money to be used properly.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan said the amount deposited by the Bahria Town could not be used for ongoing development projects.

This principle would apply to the federation and the province at the same time, he added.

The Advocate General Sindh said the federation had not paid the provincial government Rs 334 billion yet.

Upon this, Justice Faisal Arab said that the federation and the province should keep their differences away from the case.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General, instead of asking money for the federal government, requested to spend it through a judicial committee and said a committee headed by a former Supreme Court judge should be formed.

The committee should include Secretary Planning, Chief Secretary Sindh and one citizen nominated each by the Federal and Sindh governments.

He said all the money should be spent on the development of Sindh in a transparent manner.

The Attorney General told the court that the Sindh government had made the amount deposited by the Bahria Town a part of the budget.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan observed that the Sindh government did not have money to pay the salaries of sanitary workers, but it wanted to spend Bahria Town money on buying vehicles instead of development works.

The Attorney General said that the Sindh government had a position from the beginning that it did not need money, but when money started coming from Bahria Town, the Sindh government came to ask for money.

Farooq H Naek, counsel for the Malir Development Authority, said the Malir Development Authority had bought land from the Sindh government for Rs 1.67 billion, which had been given to the Bahria Town. Some 11,000 acres of Malir Development Authority land given to the Bahria Town should be returned, he added.

Addressing the lawyer of Malir Development Authority, Justice Faisal Arab remarked that the Supreme Court has already rejected the petition.

Justice Faisal Arab said that the hearing on the petition filed by Bahria Town to defer payment due to coronavirus would be held in September.

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