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December 8, 2018

Misuse of Railway land: SC summons minister in person on 24th

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December 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday summoned Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in a matter relating to misuse of Railway land across the country on Dec 24, 2028.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the petitions, filed by various citizens against construction of private housing societies on Railway land.

Appearing on notice, Afshan Ghazanfar, counsel for the petitioners submitted that there are two issues. One is land sold by Pakistan Railways and construction of housing societies across the country on railway land upon which the Supreme Court has already issued a stay order.

The 2nd issue, she said the case upon which the suo motu notice was taken by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on a column published in Daily Jang highlighting the issue.

Afshan Ghazanfar informed the court that Railway former chairman Sami Khilji had appeared before the court and had submitted a categorical statement that the government is serious to restart this railway track between Mandra and Bhoon, in Chakwal.

She further submitted that this railway track was built in 1886 during the British regime and till 1998 it was operational but in 1998 due to some vested interests of political figures of the locality this was dismantled whereas 45 kilometre land was sold out on throwaway prices.

She further informed the court that the said land was not the property of railways but it was either a provincial or federal land.

The counsel for the petitioners further submitted that after undertaking, given by the former chairman Pakistan Railways, nothing has been done and matter was put in cold storage for years

Afshan Ghazanfar told the court that this is a rich area in respect of mineral and world largest salt mine is also in this area wherein train was the main source of transportation which is very much needed as well as she contended that students mostly used the rail for transportation for being the cheapest travelling means.

During the course of hearing an advocate representing Pakistan Railways, admitted before the court some 45 kilometers government land was sold out.

Afshan Ghazanfar informed the court in 2005, the incumbent Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had held a big public meeting in Chakwal after laying foundation for revival of the said railway track.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar summoned Minister for Railways to inform the court exact situation in the matter besides directing the provinces to submit their respective replies on the matter and adjourned further hearing till December 24.

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