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SC summons Nawaz in Waqf property case

Updated November 14, 2018

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Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. — File
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. — File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday summoned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a case concerning allotment of Waqf property attached to the shrine of Hazrat Baba Farid-ud-Din Masud Ganj Shakar, Pakpattan Sharif.

A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar directed the former prime minister to appear before the court on Dec 4 to explain his position in the case.

Mr Sharif is facing a charge that being the chief minister of Punjab in 1986 he ordered withdrawal of a notification of Dec 17, 1969 and allegedly allotted huge lands of Auqaf around Pakpattan to Dewan Ghulam Qutab in violation of the high court order.

Ex-PM faces charge that as Punjab CM in 1986, he violated a high court order

At the last hearing the court had expressed its surprise under what authority a chief minister could change a high court verdict and allot the properties to an individual.

“You have put at stake the political career of a three-time prime minister,” the CJP observed while rejecting the reply furnished by Barrister Munawar Iqbal on behalf of Mr Sharif.

“I am sure that Mr Sharif does not even had the idea what the case is all about,” CJP Nisar observed and directed the former prime minister to appear before the court and explain why he withdrew the notification.

In his reply, Mr Sharif had requested the court to discharge the notice issued to him in the interest of justice, adding that the case at hand was a very old matter having taken place about 32 years ago and, therefore, he did not recall having ever passed any order of withdrawal purportedly attributed to him being the chief minister of Punjab at the time.

Consequently, from the record as collected from the paper books submitted by the Punjab government before the Supreme Court, it transpired that the Auqaf department of Punjab via its notification of Jan 17, 1961 took over the administration, control, management and maintenance of the shrine of Hazrat Baba Farid-ud-Din Masud Ganj Shakar Sahib, Pakpattan Sharif.

Subsequently, with the approval of the then governor of Punjab, Auqaf department, Lahore, issued another notification of Dec 17, 1969 for taking over additional land which later resulted into litigation between the parties.

The reply stated that Dewan Ghulam Qutabud Din, Sajada-Nashin of shrine of Baba Farid Ganj Shakar, moved the application in June 1986 to the then prime minister through the then governor stating therein that the disputed property taken over by Auqaf department, Lahore, was his personal and ancestral property, therefore, it should be returned to him.

This application of Dewan Ghulam Qutabud Din was ultimately set down in the office of the chief minister.

The reply stated that the record had established that the then chief minister did not order the withdrawal of the relevant notification of Dec 17, 1969.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2018

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