SC reserves verdict after Bahria Town ups offer for Karachi land to Rs450bn

Published March 13, 2019
Bahria Town has offered to pay an additional Rs10bn for MDA's land in Karachi, upping its total offer to Rs450bn. — Photo courtesy: Bahria Town/File
Bahria Town has offered to pay an additional Rs10bn for MDA's land in Karachi, upping its total offer to Rs450bn. — Photo courtesy: Bahria Town/File

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in the case against Bahria Town (Pvt) Ltd after the builder upped its offer to Rs450 billion for the lands it occupies in the Malir district of Karachi. The verdict is to be announced on March 21.

At the onset of the case today, the counsel for Bahria Town offered to pay Rs2.25bn per month for the next five years. The rest of the amount will be paid in the next three years, he added.

The real estate tycoon also agreed to pay Rs20bn as down payment and 30 per cent of the installments, whereas parks, zoo and a cinema have been offered as guarantee.

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The counsel also pleaded to the court to withdraw the cases being pursued by the National Accountability Bureau against Bahria Town, and sought an exemption of taxes and fees for transfer of land.

At this, Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that the court will not be able to suspend the law for transfer of land, making it clear to the builder's counsel that his client will have to pay the due taxes and government fees.

The counsel for Malir Development Authority also requested the court to withdraw cases against government officials pertaining to Bahria Town. Justice Saeed responded by saying that the deal was being made with Bahria Town and not with the Sindh government.

The judge also discouraged the impression that the builder's "offer would [necessarily] be accepted".

The court had taken up implementation of its May 4, 2018 judgement in the case which held that the land grant to the Malir Development Autho­rity (MDA) by the Sindh government, its exchange with the land of the private land developers — Bahria Town — and anything done under the provisions of the Colonisation of Government Land Act 1912 by the provincial government was illegal.

The land was granted to the MDA for launching an incremental housing sch­eme, but instead of doing so, the authority swapped it with Bahria Town, which launched a scheme of its own, the judgement had held.

Currently, Bahria Town is in possession of 16,896 acres of land in Malir district, whereas it has surrendered 7,675 acres to the MDA.

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