SC bars Pakistan Railways from selling its land

Apex court also stops Pakistan Railways from developing housing society schemes


Hasnaat Mailk January 04, 2019
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday barred Pakistan Railways from selling its land in centre and provinces.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar issued the order while hearing a case related to allegedly illegal occupation of the Pakistan Railways’ land. The court order prevents sell of land under use by the railways.

“The railways cannot lease land owned by centre and province for more than five years while land not required for railways operation can be leased for five years,” it said.

The apex court also barred Pakistan Railways from developing housing society schemes. “The railways cannot allow for its land to be illegally occupied,” it said.

Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashed said his ministry sought to lease railways to overcome deficit. He underscored that the land will not be auctioned. "We can earn Rs3 billion in profits annually if we lease the land," he maintained.

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The bench also maintained interim order, issued in December, 2018, against illegal occupation of railways land by Lahore’s Royal Palm Golf and Country Club. The matter will be heard separately by the top court.

The SC had taken over the elite club and handed its administrative matters to an audit firm. The court also ordered to take record of the club into custody while imposing ban on entry of its management into its premises.

There was a dispute between the managements of the Pakistan Railways and the Royal Country Club over non-payment of lease money. The former later approached the top court to resolve the issue.

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