TWO years ago, in March 2019, the Supreme Court had issued a detailed verdict in a case pertaining to Bahria Town Karachi regarding the settlement of 16,896 acres of land in the Malir District of Karachi Division. While accepting the offer of Rs460 billion submitted by the management of Bahria Town, as a settlement for its Super Highway project, the Supreme Court had restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from filing any reference against the company and the individuals concerned.

In view of third-party rights involving more than 140,000 affected allottees, the Bahria Town management was allowed to acquire the rights of land in question, measuring 16,896 acres in five Dehs, or villages.

During the court proceedings, it emerged that Bahria Town had allotted plots to people on land that was not legally owned by it. According to the court order, any such land stands retrieved and no excess land shall be allowed to be occupied by Bahria Town. As a result, the developer lost land measuring 7,068 acres against which it had made bookings of plots and bungalows.

Bahria Town had given an undertaking in the court to the effect that it would compensate those affected either by providing another plot within the legal boundaries or by refunding the paid amount.

Two years later, the undertaking has not been honoured yet. The company is using delaying tactics. I had submitted my case for refund 10 months ago and I was verbally assured that the deposited money would be returned within six months. To date, there is no payment in sight. I have personally visited Bahria Town offices and have sent various reminders through email in this regard. Instead of getting my money back, I am being put under pressure to get my file merged with some other project. I am sure I am not alone in my sufferings.

Only the Supreme Court may ensure the dispensation of justice to all the victims of this fraud.

Asghar Soomro
Karachi

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2021

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