KARACHI: The Supreme Court took exception over allotment of government land in Sindh for commercial purposes in violation of laws and observed the state land could not be allocated for commercial purposes without auction.
Hearing applications of private persons and companies seeking relaxation of court stay order on mutation, allotment and conversion of state land on Tuesday, the SC’s three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the land mafia has encroached entire government land due to relaxation and misuse of the laws.
The court directed the member Board of Revenue to explain the allocation of government land without auction in Sindh. The bench observed that it will pass an order after examining transparency in allotment of the land. The court observed that the court has established open auction for grant of state land for commercial purpose in Punjab.
The bench inquired from the counsel of the private wind power project as under which policy the provincial government allotted 524 acres of government land for installation of wind power project. The applicant’s counsel submitted that his client had applied for the land to install wind power project in Thatta. The court observed that prima facie the land was allotted in violation of the law. The court observed that every single citizen of the country is indebted to the tune of Rs117,000 and the court will not allow sale of land at throwaway prices.
The counsel for another applicant submitted that government is not renewing the 30 years lease to his client under garb of the Supreme Court’s ban on transfer, conversion and mutation of the state land which, he said will increase corruption. The court observed that it will examine the bonafide of every case. The court observed that counsel had also portrayed that the construction industry will collapse if the ban on high rise buildings is not lifted.
On an application for transfer of Railways land, the court asked the Railways counsel as how the Railways could lease the government land for commercial purpose. The court observed that Railways land could not be allotted or sold as it is the sole authority of the federal government to do so.
The Supreme Court also disposed of the suo motu notice on lawyers targeted killings and directed the advocate general Sindh to pay compensation to the remaining 8 families of lawyers after verification from the bar.
On distribution of compensation among the families of victims, the Advocate General said out of the 52 deceased lawyers, 44 families have been given Rs500,000 each as compensation while verification could not be made from the remaining 8 families of lawyers. He submitted that the compensation for the remaining 8 lawyers' families would be paid after confirming details of deceased lawyers.