Denial of rights: For 14 years, army denying landowners right to build

Published: June 4, 2012

After stopping the owners from building, the military asked the Punjab govt to ive them the land instead on lease for much less than the market rate.

RAWALPINDI: 

Security concerns of the military have left 25 people without access to plots they purchased legally 14 years ago.

In spite of obtaining a favourable decision from the Lahore High Court (LHC) some six years ago, the affected persons — allotted 25 plots of one kanal each at the site of the old district jail near Army House and the new Judicial Complex — have been running from pillar to post to get construction going.

The only hindrance, since 1998, has been the security concerns shown by military authorities, representatives of the affected persons told The Express Tribune. They also presented the LHC Rawalpindi Bench ruling from January 2006, which states that the petitioners are the actual owners of the land and nobody can stop them from building on their own property.

On May 16, 1998, the affected persons obtained the plots at Khayaban-e-Muhammad Ali Jinnah through open auction and got possession from the Punjab Housing and Physical Planning Department about a month later on July 20.

After getting the plots, some of the affected persons started construction but were stopped by military officials and cantonment authorities who cited the same security reasons.

This led to correspondence between the Government of Punjab and the military over the issue. Some of the letters made available to The Express Tribune revealed that the military authorities suggested a buffer zone alongside the road opposite the old jail area and that land on the other end of the residential area be given to the army. The military had also asked the Punjab government to give the land to them on lease for an amount much lower than the going rate.

However, the provincial government did not agree to the suggestions, saying the land could only be leased to military authorities at market rates.

The disgruntled plot owners moved the LHC, asking for reimbursement of the money paid to the Punjab government. But provincial authorities assured the court that the petitioners would be allowed to build their houses.

When the Punjab authorities failed to facilitate the affected persons, the petitioners moved a contempt plea in the high court in 2006, where the court ruled no one could stop the allotted persons from constructions and directed the area SHO to take action against those who create hindrances.

Some affected persons said that two of the affected had gotten their money back, while two others had died waiting for a resolution to the issue.

So far, military authorities have blocked any construction. One man tried to raise his house anyway, but cantonment board staff demolished the structure, an affected person alleged.

Senior staffers at the station commander’s office and Rawalpindi Cantonment Board were unwilling to comment, asking The Express Tribune to contact Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) instead. However, the ISPR office in Rawalpindi did not respond despite several calls and messages.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Polpot
    Jun 4, 2012 - 12:40PM

    So much for Human Rights…………
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

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  • Alu_Anday
    Jun 4, 2012 - 1:05PM

    This will be a challenge for anyone who wishes to come democratically, i.e. ‘managing’ the Army!

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  • Nadeem
    Jun 4, 2012 - 1:07PM

    Hmmmm……looks like the army wants the plots for itself. The petitioners should appoint Malik Riaz of Bahria town as their representative to negotiate with the army. Things will be resolved in a jiffy, but of course MR will take his cut after that for ‘services performed’.

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  • ASQ
    Jun 4, 2012 - 1:25PM

    And people say politicians not following court orders!

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  • ahmad
    Jun 4, 2012 - 1:59PM

    Another case of Khaki corruption…….PCO judges should take suo moto…..

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  • Jun 4, 2012 - 2:29PM

    Our mighty army conquering its own people! Feeling much proud?

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  • _sutta
    Jun 4, 2012 - 2:39PM

    One sided story. Must hear the version of other side.

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  • Jehanzeb
    Jun 4, 2012 - 3:06PM

    Pak fauj ko salaam!

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  • Mr T
    Jun 4, 2012 - 3:44PM

    Shame on Pakistan army. I hate my own country’s army, how unfortunate.

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  • DB
    Jun 4, 2012 - 5:24PM

    It is security risk as the area can then be used by terrorists to attack Army House. When Pakistanis are not willing to follow and implement basic security protocols, why blame army when security fails?

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  • Sandip
    Jun 4, 2012 - 6:13PM

    @DB: How come all security risks apply when the matter concerns prime real estate?

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  • Nadir
    Jun 4, 2012 - 6:39PM

    @DB: 14 years ago what security risk was there?

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  • Ansari
    Jun 4, 2012 - 6:58PM

    Khaki corruption, at its best!

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  • Asad Shairani
    Jun 4, 2012 - 8:51PM

    They don’t see any risk selling plots in Malir and other cantonments all over the country – but shout as soon as the estate is civilian property. Ah our men in uniform and their love for the land!

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  • Israr
    Jun 5, 2012 - 12:27AM

    How naive……You need to have some “General” knowledge if you want to succeed in real estate business in Pakistan.

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