LAHORE: Fed up with an unending legal battle she has been facing for more than three decades over a five-marla property, a woman on Tuesday asked the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, to ‘send me to India’ if she could not get justice here.

Syeda Shahnaz had originally filed an application for the transfer of her case from Bahawalpur to the court’s principal seat. The applicant, who lives in a rented house in Sheikhupura, said her life would be in danger at the hands of the illegal occupants of her property if she went to Bahawalpur to pursue the case.

Narrating her ordeal, she said she was nine years old when the litigation over the piece of land in question started, and now she was 45 years of age. She alleged that influential people from the area had occupied her house and she had been forced to run from pillar to post for the last 35 years just to secure her right.

Becoming frustrated with the unending chain of litigation, Shahnaz asked the chief justice to send her to India.

“I may get justice from Indian courts,” she added.

The chief justice issued notices to the respondents on the transfer application and adjourned the hearing for a week.

However, Chief Justice Bhatti reminded the applicant that the court had no jurisdiction to order any authority to issue her a visa for India.

Talking to reporters, Shahnaz said her ancestors had migrated to Pakistan from India. She said whenever a court decided the case in her favour the occupants filed an appeal before the next forum to prolong the litigation.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, Chairman of the Judicial Activism Panel (JAP), announced he would contest the case of the woman on pro bono basis.

The lawyer told Dawn that it was a property settlement case as the ancestors of the woman were allotted the house in question when they migrated to Pakistan from Jalandhar. He said a family living in the neighbourhood of the woman fraudulently got the title of the property changed through misrepresentation.

Mr Siddique said the settlement commissioner had, in a decision, declared that the respondents committed fraud with the woman’s family to occupy the property. But, he said, the woman had been unable to get possession of the house back from the illegal occupants despite several decisions passed in her favour.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2022

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