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LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Saturday reprimanded Punjab police for not showing performance in the case of notorious land grabber Mansha alias Bamm and lamented that the force could not even nab him till he himself courted arrest before the court.

“Now the police have started to protect the same man (Mansha) who used to hurl abuses at its officers,” regretted Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar during a dialogue with Inspector General of Police (IGP) Amjad Javed Saleemi.

The chief justice had summoned the IGP after Lahore DIG (operations) Waqas Nazir failed to satisfy the concerns of the court regarding performance of the police in retrieving lands from the illegal occupation of the land grabber.

The police also produced Mansha in the court on the chief justice’s direction.

Earlier, the DIG told a special bench that there were 19 cases of land grabbing against Mansha and all the land had been retrieved and restored to the lawful owners.

However, he said a piece of land measuring 32 kanals after being retrieved had been handed over to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) instead of the claimants due to some litigation.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the report, Chief Justice Nisar observed that there was much hype that Mansha had grabbed land worth billions of rupees but the court had been waiting for a report to this effect.

“Is this the police in Naya Pakistan?” the chief justice asked, questioning the working of the force.

He pointed out that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had also announced to retrieve the land of the citizens occupied by the grabbers. “Should I summon the chief minister?” the chief justice asked the police chief.

IGP Saleemi stated the police did their best in the case and retrieved all the land from the illegal possession of Mansha. “Let me tell you (what you term) your best (effort). You could not even arrest Mansha Bamm till his surrender to the court,” the chief justice reminded the IGP.

The CJP gave one week to the police chief with a direction to establish camps, preferably in Johar Town, to receive complaints from the victims of Mansha Bamm and also publish advertisements in newspapers for public awareness.

Meanwhile, an overseas Pakistani, Muhammad Ashraf, the complainant in the case, complained to the chief justice about “rude behaviour” of Civil Judge Noor Muhammad who had been designated to hear the cases of overseas Pakistanis.

At this the chief justice summoned the civil judge and Lahore’s sessions judge in his chamber.

The chief justice resumed hearing after a short break and told Mr Ashraf that the civil judge had been transferred and the sessions judge had been asked to depute an honest judge to deal with the cases of overseas Pakistanis.

The chief justice also directed Lahore Deputy Commissioner Ms Saleha Saeed to resolve the issue of the demarcation of the land retrieved from the grabber for its handing over to Mr Ashraf, the lawful owner.

Earlier, the DC told the court that the tehsildar concerned claimed that the revenue department had no record of the land in question.

At this, CJP Nisar expressed serious dismay over the functioning of the tehsildars and hinted at abolishing the positions of tehsildars in urban areas.

The chief justice would take up this matter on Sunday along with an already fixed case against appointment of patwaris.

Before the bench closed the hearing, handcuffed Mansha Bamm came forward to the rostrum and complained to the chief justice about “unfair treatment” being meted out to him.

He claimed that the property in question was purchased by his father. However, the chief justice snubbed him and also summoned parliamentarians Karamat Khokhar and Afzal Khokhar of Johar Town, who allegedly patronised the land grabber.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018