SC moved against Nowshera land auction after school dislocation

Updated May 10, 2020

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Amanullah Khan has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the leasing out of a precious piece of land after dislocating a school from it in Nowshera Cantonment. — Photo courtesy Supreme Court website/File
Amanullah Khan has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the leasing out of a precious piece of land after dislocating a school from it in Nowshera Cantonment. — Photo courtesy Supreme Court website/File

PESHAWAR: A resident of Nowshera has moved Supreme Court of Pakistan against a recent judgment of Peshawar High Court and challenged the leasing out of a precious piece of land after dislocating a school from it in Nowshera Cantonment.

The resident, Amanullah Khan, has filed a leave to appeal petition in Supreme Court’s Peshawar Registry, challenging the Feb 26, 2020, judgment of the high court through which his writ petition against the leasing out of the land allegedly to a political figure at much cheaper rate was challenged.

The petitioner claims that a school was functional in a building on the said land, but the building was vacated and the school was shifted to a rented building.

He said that the building on 32-marla land was auctioned in a clandestine manner so as to benefit a local leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

The petition, filed through Advocate Shah Faisal Ilyas, contended that the judgment of the high court was against law, facts and record of the case, hence untenable.

Petitioner claims land auctioned in clandestine manner to benefit PTI leader

It added that the high court failed to appreciate the fact that the matter in hand was inquired by National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which reported misuse of authority, favouritism and loss to public exchequer.

The petitioner contended that since 1928 the building in question, situated at front of Nowshera Bus Terminal, was having a school.

He stated that initially the building was leased out to a school named Arya Girls School for 30 years and prior to that the building was used as a church.

After partition, he stated, the building was taken over by education department and Government High School No.2 remained functional in it till 2008. Thereafter, he added, the high school was shifted to Government High School No.1, whereas office of sub-divisional education officer was functional there along with Government Primary school No.1 till Dec 18, 2016.

The petitioner claimed that the said building was vacated by Cantonment Board and school and offices were forcibly removed from there, following which the school was functioning in a rented building.

He stated that the building spread over 32-marla was auctioned and demolished. He added that the land was leased out at rate of Rs5.1 million, which was less than the price of a single marla in that commercial area.

The petitioner alleged that the relevant advertisement for auctioning the land was flouted in two smalltime newspapers so as to keep the exercise of auction a secret.

He contended that the property of 32-marla was a Waqaf property for the beneficial purpose of education and converting the same into a commercial plaza for private persons was based on malafide.

The petitioner requested the apex court to declare that the said property might be utilised for government buildings or should be re-auctioned by giving advertisement in widely circulated newspaper so as to avoid inflicting loss to national exchequer.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2020