ISLAMABAD: The counsel for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has decided to file a contempt petition against the Sindh government for not transferring 10 acres of state land to the spy agency for residential purposes.
The ISI counsel, Raja Muhammad Irshad, took the decision after Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, a member of the Supreme Court bench hearing a review petition of the ISI, suggested that he should file a contempt petition against the Sindh government for not transferring the land to his client despite the apex court’s November 28, 2013 clarification.
The five-judge bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, was hearing the review petition filed by the ISI director general, seeking the transfer of land from the Sindh government in Karachi West. Similarly, the PAF has also approached the top court for the transfer of 350 acres in the same area.
“Yes, this is my mistake, I should have filed a contempt petition in this case,” the counsel admitted and requested the bench to allow him to withdraw this review petition.
Earlier, Ahmar Peerzada, the counsel for the Sindh Revenue Department, appearing before the bench, said that if the court reviews its restraining order regarding the allotment of state land, then the provincial government has no objection to the transfer of land to the ISI and PAF.
But the bench told him that on ISI’s plea, the court on November 28, 2013 had passed a clarification order of the November 28, 2012 order that the restraint shall be applicable only to the extent of state land only.
The apex court’s 2012 ruling had restrained the Sindh revenue department from mutation, transfer and conversion of any state land and/or keeping any transaction or entry in the record of rights. Revenue authorities shall be free to enter transaction and mutation of state property, which is required for the purpose of state utilisation.
The bench observed that after this clarification, there is no bar regarding the transfer of land for state purposes. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the government would ensure whether the land is utilised for state purposes or not.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa also observed that it seems that both parties want to use the court’s shoulders for the permission to transfer land but the court would not do it. “My difficulty is that I am representing the most sensitive secret agency as I cannot disclose the real purpose of the utilisation of this land,” ISI’s counsel told the bench. He also offered the court to go through his classified report for disclosing the strategic purpose of this land. Justice Nisar asked him to share the real purpose of this land to the Sindh Revenue Department.
Meanwhile, Justice Saqib said the state’s land could be transferred for residential purposes of the government’s servants. The court, however, refused to pass any kind of order over the ISI’s review petition. Later on, the counsel for ISI withdrew the review petition as he would file a contempt petition instead.
Later, outside the court’s premises, a senior official in the Sindh government told journalists that the provincial government was not willing to transfer 10 acres of land to the ISI and 350 acres to PAF without Supreme Court’s orders. He also stated that both departments wanted to make cooperative housing societies and utilise the land for residential purposes, as it was violation of the Supreme Court’s November 28, 2012 order.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2014.
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