FGEHA ignored ‘conflict of interest’: IHC

Court in detailed verdict says public interests not taken into account while allotting plots


Our Correspondent September 19, 2021
Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday observed that the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA) had not taken into account the important aspect of “conflict of interests” while allotting plots in the capital’s sectors F-14 and F-15.

In its detailed judgment, the IHC noted that the authority’s policy of dividing the acquired land was not in accordance with public interest.

A special bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued a three-page verdict in connection with the allotment of plots in Islamabad’s F-14 and F-15 sectors through balloting and other cases related to the affected people.

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The court hoped that the government would formulate a policy on the acquired land in public interests before the next hearing.

It asked the attorney general for Pakistan to assist the government regarding questions on balloting for the F-14 and F-15 sectors.

The allotment through balloting would remain suspended till the next hearing.

The deputy commissioner of the authority told the court that some of the affected people were not cooperating so the payment was delayed.

The court said that the authority should take action as per the law. If the affected people do not cooperate, the authority should move the court.

The government employees housing authority should also submit its detailed reply on all the petitions at the next hearing.

Earlier this month, the IHC had suspended the allotment of plots to judges, bureaucrats, and government employees in the capital’s F-14 and 15 sectors through balloting.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by property owners in villages Thalla Syedan and Jhangi Syedan against the acquisition of their land.

The IHC chief justice noted that people from whom the land had been acquired would not be affected by the stay order as they had already been allotted alternate plots.

The estate director, law director and deputy commissioner of the FGEHA appeared in the court during the hearing.

The deputy commissioner informed the court that the federal cabinet had formed a committee to look into the matter and present its report to the cabinet.

Upon this, Justice Minallah observed that the court had asked the federal government to explain its policy on the matter. “How did you jump over the people expecting [to be allotted plots] and give them to others?” he questioned.

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The court is talking about 31,000 to 32,000 members of the federal government who were awaiting plots, he added.

The deputy commissioner answered that plots were also allotted to the judiciary, journalists, lawyers and people from other organisations based on quota system.

“What is the fault of labourers? Why are they not given plots?” the chief justice questioned.

Justice Minallah inquired about the number of members who had not been allotted plots in Islamabad’s F-14 and 15 sectors.

“There must be a waiting list. What was the policy? You have also allotted plots to judges who were sacked because of corruption. Is it the policy to encourage corruption?” he asked.

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