ISLAMABAD: As many as 18 residents of Naval Farms have challenged Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to declare the real estate venture of Pakistan Navy illegal.

The residents, Raana Rahim and others, filed an appeal on Friday against the order passed by IHC single member bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Jan 7 that revoked the no-objection certificate (NOC) issued by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to Naval Farms and asked the civic agency to take over the land.

The court also asked the auditor general to conduct forensic audit of Naval Farms to ascertain the loss to the exchequer and to recover the same from the officers found responsible for committing illegalities in relation to the venture.

The court termed it a violation of the enforced laws and transgressions from the mandate prescribed under the Constitution.

Petitioners say they were legal purchasers but were condemned unheard

The Ministry of Defence on Thursday also filed an intra-court appeal against the order, saying the role of armed forces had been defined in Article 245 that required the armed forces to defend Pakistan against external aggression. However, the Constitution does not direct them to give their life if required to discharge this duty or for that matter take the life of an enemy.

The residents of Naval Farms in the appeal stated that they were condemned unheard and said they were bona fide purchasers and cannot be penalised for any fraud, misrepresentation, defect in title or lack of ability to buy or own from the predecessors.

The appeal stated that the rights of appellants are protected by the Islamabad Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2020 promulgated to protect the interest of buyers in real estate projects in Islamabad.

Commenting on the IHC’s observations about the constitutional role of armed forces, the appellants stated that the “judgement takes a restrictive view of the constitutional mandate of the armed forces and did not fully consider the implications…as the same was tantamount to declaring all housing societies ever created by the armed forces illegal and void ab initio along with schools, universities and hospitals ever set up by the armed forces of Pakistan in the national interest and for the welfare of the citizens.”

In the Jan 7 judgement, Justice Minallah pointed out that “the mandate of the armed forces of Pakistan has been described in chapter 2 of part XII of the Constitution.”

The residents stated that the IHC in the judgement characterised Naval Farms as a “private real estate venture”. However, the appeal stated that all the original allottees of the plots were naval officers and the project was never offered to the general public to raise funds.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2022



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