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CJP orders ACE to end land occupation at Khokhar Palace

January 06, 2019

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On Dec 25, Afzal Khokhar was arrested outside the SC Lahore registry. — File photo
On Dec 25, Afzal Khokhar was arrested outside the SC Lahore registry. — File photo

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday ordered the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to put an end to the illegal occupation of land by Khokhar Palace in Lahore.

A two-member bench headed by the top judge, while hearing a suo motu case at the Lahore registry on alleged land grabbing by the Khokhar brothers, ordered the ACE to take action in light of a report on the matter submitted today by ACE Director General Hussain Asghar and to submit another report on the matter within 10 days.

The court had earlier taken notice of a complaint made against the brothers by an overseas Pakistani who accused the duo of illegally occupying his land and building Khokhar Palace there and registered an FIR against the brothers.

On Dec 25, Afzal was arrested outside the Lahore registry. He was granted post-arrest bail by a judicial magistrate at Model Town courts the next day.

On December 28, the SC had ordered ACE to complete its investigation against the Khokhar brothers and to register a case against all those Revenue Department officials who were involved in allowing consolidation of the land.

According to the ACE report submitted today, the Khokhars have occupied 40 kanals of state land and paid only one of the 10 people from whom they purchased land.

The report added that Khokhar Palace was built on joint lands forcibly taken from various people.

"The Khokhar brothers have received bail till your retirement," Asghar told Justice Nisar who is set to retire on Jan 17.

The chief justice warned that the court would do away with the Khokhars' joint lands. "Empty Khokhar palace and pack up your things," he thundered. "I will not let such thuggish behaviour take place in Pakistan."

He suggested that an educational institute be set up in place of Khokhar Palace similar to that being introduced at PM House.

Justice Nisar observed that the Khokhar brothers appeared to exert and extraordinary amount of control in the area. "A fly cannot fly there without their go-ahead," he said. "Such people have destroyed Pakistan."

The top judge said that the ACE should register cases and take action as per the law.

During the hearing, the lawyer for the Khokhar brothers said they were innocent and because of land-grabbing culture, all allegations were being placed on them.

"The land-grabbing culture was introduced by the Khokhar brothers," the top judge responded.