Property tycoon Malik Riaz booked in alleged land grab case

Updated October 01, 2017


Pakistani property developer Malik Riaz.—Reuters/File
Pakistani property developer Malik Riaz.—Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Police have registered an FIR against property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son Ali Riaz, and the Bahria Town management in a land-grabbing case more than a week after a local court issued orders to this effect.

Additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Sikandar Khan had ordered local police on Sept 21 to book the accused on the complaint of a widow and other residents of Phulgran, located in the suburbs of the federal capital.

Bhara Kahu police registered the FIR on Sept 29 under sections 109, 341, 379, 427 and 447 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which deal with theft, wrongful restraint, mischief and criminal trespass.

Advocate Yasir Ali, one of the complainants, told Dawn he had inherited just over eight kanals of land worth approximately Rs80-90 million in the Phulgran revenue estate, which was illegally occupied by Bahria Town.

Judge orders police to only arrest accused if ‘sufficient evidence’ becomes available

He said that when he visited his family land on July 26, he found them occupied by Bahria Town guards. He claimed that he also approached the Bahria Town office located on Murree Expressway, near Satra Meel.

“I showed them the ownership documents, but they said the matter was not in their hands,” he said, adding that when he initially approached Bhara Kahu police to lodge a complaint, the station house officer and other officials refused to entertain him.

He said that he had approached the district courts and filed a petition seeking the registration of a case.

The complainant told the court that the property tycoon had illegally grabbed his inherited land and included it in his private housing scheme.

Mustafa Tanveer, counsel for Malik Riaz, told the court that the issue regarding the ownership of the land in question was pending before a civil court.

He alleged that the complainants had filed the petition for the registration of an FIR against Malik Riaz and his son in a bid to blackmail them, and argued that since the matter was pending before a civil court, criminal proceedings could not be initiated.

In the order, however, the ADSJ observed that pendency of a civil suit is not a bar against criminal proceedings, as both can proceed simultaneously.

But in his order, the judge noted that it was not necessary to arrest an accused as soon as the FIR was registered, and directed that police should only take the accused into custody when a cognisable offence was proven during the course of the investigation.

“It is to be clarified here that when an FIR is registered it is not necessary that in all cases the accused should be arrested. The accused may be arrested only in those cases where sufficient evidence comes on record against the accused,” the order read.

Moreover, “if during investigation, the information provided by the petitioner is proved false, local police may initiate strict proceedings under Section 182 (invoked against false accusers) of Pakistan Penal Code against the informant for providing false information”, the order further states.

When contacted, Bahria Town spokesperson retired Col Mohammad Khalil told Dawn that the housing society had lawfully purchased the land in question.

He admitted there was a minor dispute between the society and locals, adding that the case was pending before a civil court in Islamabad.

However, he alleged that locals had filed an application seeking the registration of an FIR against Bahria Town high-ups with mala fide intent, to pressure the housing society into giving them a better deal.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2017