The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered the inspection of prime state lands along Super Highway, which are allegedly being encroached upon and sold at throwaway prices through 'china-cutting'.
A division bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, also directed the relevant DIG and Malir deputy commissioner to provide necessary assistance to the SHC Nazir [official], who has been appointed as commissioner, for the inspection. The two judges clearly instructed the DIG to nominate any senior police officer "other than SSP Malir" to provide assistance and protection to the commissioner during the site inspection.
Read: Land scam: Additional home secy gets interim pre-arrest bail
These directives came on a petition by civil rights campaigner Rana Faizul Hasan, against rampant land grabbing with the alleged connivance of the Malir police senior superintendent. The petitioner had taken the police, the revenue, the evacuee properties trust and others to the court over their failure to protect vast state lands from the land grabbers.
In his plea, Hasan claimed that the mud mounds located between Sikandar Goth and Gulzar-e-Hijri on Super Highway are being eliminated to encroach upon prime lands in Scheme-33 of Malir district. He also claimed that the culprits had prepared fake documents with the help of influential personalities to secure allotments and then sell the land at throwaway prices.
A group said to be headed by a notorious land grabber, Ismail, is actively getting the status of such land changed to commercial under false claims of setting up inter-city bus stands in the locality, he claimed. "The plots measuring 500 square-yards each are being sold at Rs5 million and 120-square-yard plots for Rs115,000," he pointed out. He blamed the local police of patronising two to three groups of land mafia.
Read: SHC calls comments on detention of Fitra collectors
The petitioner said he had written an application to the Malir district deputy commissioner, the Malir SSP, the director-general of the Sindh Building Control Authority, the local government secretary, the Master Plan Group of Offices (MPGO) of the KMC, the anti-corruption establishment and others on June 9 but none of them had initiated any action.
Moving an application for urgent hearing of the case recently, Hasan said that the land grabbers are continuously encroaching upon state lands belonging to the Evacuee Property Trust and raising constructions on them.
Verifying this claim, the trust's lawyer, Iftikhar Javed Qazi, said that various FIRs have been filed with the police as well. "However, the police are conniving with such land grabbers and construction is being raised on Survey No. 361 and 362 in Deh Gujro, Scheme 33, Malir, Karachi," he added.
The provincial government's law officer, Mukesh Kumar, suggested the appointment of a court Nazir to verify the claims of the petitioner. The Nazir will inspect the site by associating the relevant Mukhtiarkar as well as the officials from the Evacuee Property Trust. He will then submit an inspection report in the high court. Agreeing with the law officer's suggestion, the judges appointed the SHC Nazir and deputy Nazir as commissioner to inspect the site along with the Mukhtiarkar and the trust officials.
Read: Nab powers: SHC dismisses plea challenging accountability law
Meanwhile, the district East's DIG was also directed by the court to nominate a senior officer other than the current Malir SSP to provide necessary assistance during the team's visit. The relevant deputy commissioner was told to ensure that the high court orders are complied with.
The judges directed the commissioner to visit the site and submit the inspection report within one week. The hearing was adjourned till July 27.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2015.