Ownership dispute: New twist in prized plot case

IHC allows Pakistani business tycoon to become party in the case, setting aside a district court order

Rizwan Shehzad June 19, 2016
Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has allowed a Pakistani business tycoon to become a party in a case pertaining to the ownership of a prized plot located in the Diplomatic Enclave.

Justice Athar Minallah has set aside the order of a district court, which had dismissed Saddruddin Hashwani’s plea to become a party in the case pertaining to the 20,000 square yards plot in Sector G-5.

“The petitioner shall be impleaded as a defendant in both the suits,” Justice Minallah stated, adding that the parties may consider filing an application for consolidating the three suits filed in respect of the property.

The judge also directed the trial court to conclude the proceedings expeditiously and within a reasonable time.

The ownership of the plot is being claimed by Hashwani and Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Ahmad Jabar Al-Sabah among others.

According to Hashwani’s counsel, Jawad Hassan, CDA offered to sell a residential plot in the Diplomatic Enclave to the Emir of Kuwait on May 21, 1980.

In 1987, the emir accepted the offer letter and signed an agreement through his attorney Qasim Omer Yaqoot, former Kuwaiti ambassador. In 1990, the emir sold the plot to a businessman, Mian Javaid Zia, at a price of Rs30 million.

The emir through Yaqoot informed the civic agency to transfer the plot to Zia in the same year. In 1991, the civic body offered an alternative plot to the Kuwaiti ruler’s attorney which he accepted.

The possession of the property was taken over by Zia in 1991. However, in 1992, CDA sent a letter to Yaqoot saying that the sale of the property to Zia cannot take place as it was allotted to the emir only to construct his villa.

After a decade, in 2002, Zia filed a petition in the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench, against the decision which was dismissed. His other pleas were also dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2003 and 2007.

Meanwhile, in 2005, Hashwani entered into the sale agreement with the emir through his attorney Yaqoot regarding the property and the agreement was fixed at $2 million. Moreover, in 2014, Masco Construction Company claimed that Zia had sold a part of the plot to it which is denied by Hashwani as well as the emir and the ambassador.

Curious case of lawyers

Things took a new turn in 2014 when the emir filed an application before the court saying that he never appointed “Yaqoot as his lawful, valid and legal general attorney.”

In the application, the emir revealed that he remained “ignorant” of all the judicial proceedings and lawyers, including Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Muhammad Afzal Siddiqui and Naeem Bokhari, continued to represent him before the courts without his consent.

Through a letter, he said, he directed the lawyers “to immediately stop appearing and conducting proceedings on his behalf in any court of law.”

He then appointed Nawaf Abdulaziz Alenezi, the ambassador of Kuwait to Pakistan, as his lawful attorney.

Interestingly, the emir revealed that Bokhari was the one who had filed an application for impleading Hashwani as co-petitioner in 2013, adding that Siddiqui subsequently made a conceding statement that the application was allowed and directions were issued to file the amended memo of a petition.

He alleged that Bokhari and Siddiqui have always been “watching, looking after and protecting the interests of Saddrudin Hashwani.”

While confirming that Bokhari was once authorised by Hashwani to file the petition, Hassan said that he had filed a civil suit in May 2014 at the IHC where documents have been submitted to the court to prove that Hashwani was the lawful owner of the plot.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Yaqoot was transferred to another country and reported to have died. Subsequently, Hassan said that Hashwani made repeated “efforts to seek specific performance” but to no effect.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2016.



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