SC annoyed at failure in removing land encroachment

KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday expressed extreme annoyance over the failure of Sindh Board of Revenue (SBR) and anti-encroachment force in retrieving encroached state land.

The large bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Tasadduq Hussain Jilani directed SBR to submit a detailed report outlining the state land recovered by SBR, action taken against encroachers, number of FIRs lodged against encroachments, case filed in anti-encroachment tribunals, and number of show-cause notices issued to illegal occupants under Sindh Public Property Act.

The five-member bench headed by Chief Justice and comprising Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmani, Amir Hani Muslim, Gulzar Ahmed and Mushir Alam was seized with the hearing of Karachi law and order implementation case at apex court’s Karachi registry.

To a query of bench on how many FIRs have been registered against the land grabbers, SP encroachment Arif Aziz informed the court that so far 143 cases were registered regarding encroachments, out of which 46 were disposed of by declaring them untraced. He told the court that for three months, he was posted as SP anti-encroachment cell and during his tenure only two FIRs were lodged against land grabbers.

At which one-member of bench snapped “SP’s statement meant there were no encroachments on the lands in the province”. The bench expressed displeasure on the SP anti-encroachment force for his failure to retrieve illegally occupied land.

The bench also noted the absence of senior member of SBR and became visibly irked when it was informed that senior BoR member could not appear before it due to ailment. Is it the policy of SBR that only ailing person could posted as a senior member Board of Revenue, one of judges remarked.

While hearing an application of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) seeking review of apex court’ s earlier restraining order against allotment of state land, the bench directed chief provincial law officer Abdul Fatah Malik to submit provincial government’s land allotment policy in the court within 15 days.

Advocate Raja Irshad, representing ISI said that SBR has declined to allot the ISI 10 acres of land in Deh Mandro in Karachi while making an excuse that the apex court had stayed allotment of state land. He requested the court to review its earlier order so that land be allotted for residential purpose.

Justice Amir Hani Muslim said that state land could not be leased out on an application moved to Chief Minister Sindh, adding if the applicant, ISI required land for housing scheme for its employees than it should be allotted through a proper policy.

The bench enquired about the Sindh government’s policy for allotting state land for residential purposes. AG told the court that there was no any policy in place for allotting state land for housing scheme.

Though, he requested the court to allow him some time to seek instruction from provincial authorities and submit a statement in this regard.

Chief Justice said that provincial government should frame a policy for leasing out the land that belonged to provincial government.

Additional IG Sindh Iqbal Mehmood informed the court that SSP Malir Rao Anwar was reinstated after the committee headed by commissioner Karachi exonerated him from charge of criminal negligence. The bench enquired about his re-posting as SSP Malir and duration of his previous posting. To which AIG could not gave satisfactory reply and said that two to three years Rao Anwar served as SSP before he was suspended.

The bench directed home secretary to submit a concise statement showing how long he served as SSP Malir and a note on his service profile.

Applicant Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi had informed the court that SSP Malir Rao Anwar Ahmed was suspended for criminal negligence and poor response after the Abbas town blast. He told the court that SSP Rao Anwar was reinstated without seeking permission of court.

Around 50 people were killed and over 150 injured in a blast near Shia-dominated residential apartments in Abbas Town, Karachi, on 3 March 2013.

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