A joint investigation team (JIT) on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that ousted premier Nawaz Sharif had illegally allotted 14,398 acres of Waqf property attached to the shrine of Hazrat Baba Farid-ud-Din Masud Ganj Shakar in Pakpattan to Dewan Ghulam Qutab during his tenure as Punjab chief minister in 1986.
Sharif has been accused of illegally allotting the shrine's land during his tenure as chief minister in violation of a high court order after ordering the withdrawal of a notification dated Dec 17, 1969.
The SC-mandated JIT formed to probe the allegations against Sharif submitted a report on its findings during today's hearing.
Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Director General Hussain Asghar, who was heading the JIT, told the court that Sharif had, in addition to the Pakpattan shrine land, allotted land in Hujra Shah Muqeem along with that of the shrine of Hafiz Jamalullah Multani.
Asghar told the court that an investigation report prepared in 2015 had held the then chief minister responsible. However, the chief minister's name was excluded in a second report that was submitted in 2016. The JIT, concluding that then chief minister did not have the authority to transfer the land, recommended that that land be retrieved and criminal proceedings be initiated against Sharif, then secretary to chief minister Syed Javed Iqbal Bukhari, the legal heirs of Deewan Ghulam Qutub Din, assistant administrator of Auqaf Pakpattan during 1969 and 1986 as well as the patwaris of the area "where these irregularities and illegalities were committed".
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar who was heading the three-member bench hearing the case today said that "times have changed and a third report will not be prepared".
"Why was this land allotted illegally?" the chief justice inquired, warning that "no one will be able to escape if an investigation is launched".
Sharif's counsel Barrister Munawar Iqbal said that the former premier had rejected the allegations earlier.
"You're playing the role of [the person] more loyal to the king than the king himself," Justice Nisar remarked. "We may order the Anti-Corruption Establishment to file a complaint."
The chief justice ordered the Punjab government and Nawaz Sharif to submit a response to the JIT report within two weeks. The hearing was adjourned until next week.