KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the secretary to the Pakistan Railways (PR) minister Tuesday to ensure that the ministry-owned property is not encroached on or vandalised by any person or political leaders in the Shaheed Benazirabad district.
Notices must be issued to two private respondents who - the PR Sukkur divisional superintendant (DS) confirmed - were involved in illegally occupying 8,000 square yards of land adjacent to the Bhandi railway station, ordered a division bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Nisar Muhammad Sheikh.
Petitioner Qurban Ali, along with four residents of Bhandi, approached the SHC, citing the railways ministry chairman, general manager (operations), PR Sukkur DS, Sindh chief secretary, zila council and the district administrator as respondents.
The petitioners submitted that land grabbers had constructed structures on the ministry’s land with the help of “higher authorities from the district administration”.
They added that the land was worth billions of rupees and they contended that no action had been taken against the offenders despite several complaints to the PR authorities.
The encroachers had also informed the petitioners that the land in question was leased out to them by the PR Sukkur DS, despite the fact that the latter has no powers or authority to lease the ministry’s land.
The petitioners appealed to the court to direct the PR ministry to get the land back from the illegal occupants and order a demolition of the illegal structures.
On Tuesday, a court-appointed commissioner submitted his report, stating that a man, identified as Wahid Bux Jamili, had illegally occupied the land and had built 28 shops and a hotel over the railway line.
The PR Sukkur DS also submitted his report, confirming that Abdul Haq Jamali had raised constructions on the land, after which the division bench ordered the petitioners to make Wahid Bux Jamili and Abdul Haq Jamali party to the petition. The court also ordered that the men be issued notices and directed the office to send a copy of this order to the PR secretary to ensure that the ministry-owned property is not encroached in the future.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2010.
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