SC summons Nawaz Sharif in Pakpattan land allotment case

Published: November 13, 2018
CJP had taken sou motu notice over illegal construction of shops on shrine’s land. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

CJP had taken sou motu notice over illegal construction of shops on shrine’s land. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The top court has summoned deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on December 4, 2018 in a 1985 Pakpattan illegal government land allotment case.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, on Tuesday took up the case for hearing.

Sharif, who was the Punjab chief minister at the time, had allegedly allotted 1,800 kanals of Auqaf Department land around the Pakpattan shrine to an individual in violation of the Lahore High Court (LHC) order.

Last month, the top court directed Sharif to submit within two weeks a reply related to the matter of withdrawal of notification No 3(4)-Auqaf/60 dated 17-12-1969, concerning the Auqaf property attached with the shrine of Hazrat Baba Faridud Din Masud Ganj Shakar, Pakpattan Sharif, which had taken place about 32 years ago in 1986, when the matter was sub judice in the apex court.

In 2015, former chief justice Nasirul Mulk while hearing a matter related to the land dispute had taken a suo motu notice over the illegal allotment of the shrine land to individuals in 1985 in violation of the LHC order.

In response to the court’s order, Sharif, through his counsel Munawar Iqbal Dhuggal, filed a reply wherein it is stated that he does not recall having ever passed any such order of withdrawal purportedly attributed to him being the chief minister of Punjab at the relevant time.

SC questions building of shops on shrine land

The reply contends that it is also established from the record that the then Punjab CM did not order the withdrawal of the relevant notification, adding that it is evident from the record that the Chief Administrator of Auqaf issued a notification of withdrawal by exercising his own powers and nothing in this notification suggests that it was done on the orders of the then Punjab CM.

Likewise, the reply contends that no endorsement of withdrawal of the notification was made to the Chief Minister Office.

The reply further states that it appears from the record that Muhammad Yousaf Khan, the then chief administrator of Auqaf, in utter disregard to his own summary dated 12-08-1986 and despite coming to know that the purported order of secretary to the CM does not relate to the notification dated 17-12-1969, proceeded on his own to issue the withdrawal of notification dated 17-12-1969 without seeking clarification from the CM Office.

The bench termed Sharif’s reply as vague and asked that he personally come and explain as to why he had de-notified the 1969 notification.

The chief justice asked Iqbal that he contended that Sharif was unaware about this development.

“Have you ever met Sharif,” the CJP asked the counsel. “I met my client regarding the matter,” said the counsel.

The chief justice said if Sharif had not given the order and fraud had been committed, the matter could be referred to NAB for filing a reference.

Later, the bench summoned Sharif on December 4.

The bench, on August 6, had directed the Punjab Revenue Department to respond to as to what was the property originally owned by Dewan Moudood Masud; how much of the property was sold/alienated at different points of time; what property was left in Dewan’s name and details of transferee(s) of the property on account of transactions by Dewan.

It was submitted that the property under litigation belonged to Dewan Ghulam Qutubuddin and the present Dewan, named Moudood Masud, was in his lineage as one of the successors.

The revenue department set out property of Dewan Ghulam Qutubuddin as a reference point for addressing directions of the top court.

It was submitted by the Punjab government that land measuring 36,230 kanals, 17 marlas and five sarsais in seven revenue estates was owned by Dewan Ghulam Qutubuddin as per the settlement record of 1957-58.

Land measuring 21,837 kanals and five marlas was transferred in favour of the Federal Land Commission. Remaining land measuring 14,393 kanals, 12 marlas and five sarsais rested with Dewan Ghulam Qutubuddin.

It is further submitted that no property exists in the name of Dewan Ghulam Qutubuddin as per the revenue record. Further, his legal heirs own only 360 kanals and five marlas of land in their name that too is pledged with the Bank of Punjab for different considerations.

It may be added that land measuring 12,189 kanals and four marlas was sold out by Dewan Ghulam Qutubuddin and his legal heirs, whose 9,055 mutations were recorded between 13,072 different buyers till July 9, 2015. However, the current owners of sold out land, as per current register, are 8,458.

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