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Mehmood Bhatti asks CJP, COAS to help him out against land mafia

November 26, 2022

LAHORE: Acclaimed Pakistani-French fashion designer Mehmood Bhatti has appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to take notice of the treatment being meted out to him by the country’s judicial system, saying, otherwise, he would pull all his charity and philanthropic work and investments out of Pakistan if his grievances were not addressed.

Speaking to the media after an event at Punjab University’s (PU) New Campus here on Friday, Mehmood Bhatti poured his heart out, saying he did not want to, but he was seriously thinking of shifting his charity and philanthropic work to countries like Vietnam and Cambodia as in his own country he was implicated in false and fabricated cases. He said he had taken a lawyer to court for allegedly transferring a piece of land into his and his wife’s names. He went on to say that he had purchased the land in the provincial capital of Lahore to establish an orphanage.

The fashion czar said that overseas Pakistanis wanted to invest in Pakistan. Nonetheless, the fear of becoming victims of fraud and subsequent mistreatment by state institutions was a huge deterrent. He said the qabza mafia was after the properties of overseas Pakistanis and questioned why those who spent years outside Pakistan would come back to the country in such a situation. He said he would wait until March 2023, and afterward, he would go on a hunger strike outside the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

As a protest, the celebrated Pakistani-French fashion designer announced that he would return the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, one of the highest civilian and honourary awards, to the government. He said the sessions judge who was dealing with his case was allegedly not even listening to his case.

“I spent Rs1.2 million and 24 hours on flights to attend the hearing from France, but the judge didn’t even listen to me,” Bhatti said, adding on top of it that junior lawyers within the court were harassing him. He said he was doing business in 80 countries and was represented by lawyers in these countries as well, but nowhere had he faced the situation that he was experiencing in his own country.

Mehmood Bhatti said he had been going to court for the last two years and had spent Rs20 million so far, but still, there was no conclusion.

In Pakistan, the fashion icon said he was involved in philanthropic work for orphans, widows, and talented and needy students, but he was being humiliated in return. He said those at the helm should wake up, as the country had left behind Africa.

Earlier, Mehmood Bhatti spoke at a joint ceremony held in honour of toppers from Hailey College of Commerce (HCC), Punjab University, the winners of HCC’s Financial Accounting Competition, and the winners of an art competition.

Like previous years, Bhatti had sponsored cash prizes for 25 students. He, however, said this might be his last effort, as he was truly sad and wanted to pull his huge investment and philanthropic work out of Pakistan. He appreciated the students’ talent and creative work and said they were the future of the country. However, he said those at the helm should realise what kind of country we were leaving for our kids.

Dr. Zafar Ahmed from Hailey College of Commerce and others also spoke, while a large number of students and their parents attended the ceremony.