LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave a one-day opportunity to an elderly couple without issue to reach a settlement in a criminal case the wife lodged against the husband for taking back precious gifted property through forgery.

Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) of Sargodha district registered an FIR on Nov 11, 2019, against Aslam Hayat Qureshi, his brother-in-law Munir Qureshi and officials of the revenue department including the patwari concerned on a complaint of Lalarukh Hayat.

The woman is a granddaughter of Sir Sikandar Hayat, a key member of the Pakistan Movement and former prime minister of pre-Partition Punjab.

She pleads that her husband Aslam Hayat Qureshi committed forgery in connivance with the officials and prepared two bogus transfer deeds regarding land measuring 297 kanals.

Woman files criminal case against husband for taking gifted property back through forgery

A special judge of ACE and the Lahore High Court had denied pre-arrest bail to Mr Qureshi and other suspects. Later they moved the bail petitions in the SC, which a three-judge bench heard on Wednesday.

At the outset of the hearing, senior lawyer Ahsan Bhoon, the counsel for Ms Hayat, stated the husband of his client had in 1975 gifted two different lands measuring 180 kanal and 117 kanal, respectively, to his wife in Sargodha.

He said the relationship between the couple got strained after several decades and the husband prepared fake documents with forged signatures of the complainant to take back the land.

Advocate Bhoon said his client came to know that the property ownership had been changed back to her husband’s name when approached the patwari for the ownership documents. Later, she approached the ACE for lodging of the FIR against her husband and revenue officers who were involved in forgery and preparing bogus documents.

The counsel pointed out that the ACE sent the signatures of Ms Hayat to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for comparison and its report confirmed that the documents prepared by the suspects carried forged signatures of the woman.

Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, who headed the bench, observed that the petitioner/suspect had very limited options and prima facie extraordinary relief of pre-arrest bail could not be granted since the report of the forensic expert came against him.

The judge asked both sides to deliberate upon an out-of-court settlement in view of the hardships of the criminal litigation and resolve the issue amicably.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, another member of the bench, also advised the husband to show large-heartedness since no one would take the land with him/her after death. The judge observed that the reconciliation would benefit both sides.

Justice Malik observed that the petition would be decided on its merits if the parties failed to resolve the matter amicably.

The bench will resume its hearing on Thursday (today) at 12 noon.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2020

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