Supreme Court to decide settlement of illegal land swap benefiting Bahria Town Karachi

Published October 11, 2018
The file photo shows the entrance of Bahria Town Karachi. — Dawn/File
The file photo shows the entrance of Bahria Town Karachi. — Dawn/File

The Supreme Court on Thursday dropped the review petitions filed against its May 4 judgement barring Bahria Town Karachi from selling any plots or constructed apartments after they were withdrawn by the petitioners.

The petitions were withdrawn after the court said it would form an implementation bench to oversee the implementation of the previous judgement.

The court separately directed the National Accountability Court (NAB) to continue proceeding with its investigation in the case, also directed in the earlier judgement, on its merits.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, a five-judge larger bench had taken up petitions seeking review of the court’s May 4 judgement, which had barred the Bahria Town Karachi from selling plots or built-up apartments in the scheme it had launched in the city and directing a settlement of lands it had acquired under a swap with the Malir Development Authority (MDA). The verdict had held that the transfer of land between the MDA and Bahria Town Karachi had been illegal.

During the hearing, the CJP offered to form a bench for the implementation of the earlier judgment if the petitioners agreed to withdraw their applications. The top judge assured that the special bench will give an "efficient and timely" decision on the matter.

Justice Nisar remarked that he himself is impressed by the work done by Bahria Town and that "there is no other project like [it] in Pakistan", but made it clear that there could be no compromise over the illegalities conducted in the acquisition of land.

Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who was representing the residents and owners of Bahria Town Karachi real estate, suggested that the court form an implementation bench and determine how much money the developer has to pay to the Sindh government as a differential amount for the transfer of prime lands to it by the MDA.

The court subsequently closed the matter after Bahria Town, residents, property dealers and the Government of Sindh withdrew their review petitions.

The CJP said that the implementation bench will conclude the case as soon as possible and until then, the amount submitted by Bahria Town in the court as a guarantee will remain deposited.

He also made it clear that the apex court will not interfere in an inquiry initiated by NAB into the matter.

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