PAKISTAN NEWS ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday observed that a number of respondents in a case relating to 141 acres leased out Railways land in Lahore during former President Pervez Musharraf’s regime, had nothing to contest as they did not file their replies, however, the apex Court was giving them an opportunity to explain their position.
A four-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Mohammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalil ur Rehman Ramday resumed hearing of the case.
The bench also accepted a plea of Mainland Hasnain private Company for becoming a party to the case after the petitioners admitted that they would have no objection over its plea.
Ali Zafar, counsel for the company, apprised the bench that they wanted to become a respondent in the instant case as they were the actual operator company and lessee.
Attorney General for Pakistan Maulvi Anwarul Haq to bench’s query replied that he had received the relevant record and would be submitting with the bench.
Further hearing was adjourned for two-week.
The bench is seized with the pleas filed by Ishaq Khan Khakwani and Dr Mobashir Hassan against leasing out of Railways land to Royal Palms and Country Golf Club Lahore by claiming that the transaction was made in highly objectionable manner in 2001.
On last date of hearing, the bench in its order had noted that in terms of Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, a number of questions of public importance were involved with fundamental rights related to owner of property, security of income and the national wealth.
“The national interest is involved falling in the fore-corners of Article 9, therefore, the petitions are admitted for regular hearing and notices are directed to be issued,” it added.
A total of 16 respondents were directed to file their replies including Railways Board, the then secretaries, chairmen Railways, serving Chairman/secretary Railways, the Establishment division, Senior Member Federal Bureau of Revenue, secretary Railways Board, General Manager Services, Lt general retired Javed Ashraf Qazi, former federal minister, Lt general retired Saeed ul Zafar, major general retired Hamid Hassan Butt and Khursheed Alam and others.
The petitioners had contended that initial area which was to be leased out stood around 103 acres but later on it was increased to 141 acres due to some negotiations.
They said the period of lease which was 33 years was also increased to 49 years giving rise to a lot of hue and cry during that period by different quarters but no action was taken.
A special committee was constituted during former president general retired Pervez Musharraf’s regime but no action was taken.
A journalist, who published a story on the lease on January 9, had also appeared before the bench on its direction and provided information.
He stated that a loss of Rs25 billion to public exchequer had now reached to estimated Rs50 billion.
Additional secretary National Assembly Munawar Abbas on bench’s direction had also appeared and apprised that a report was finalised on August 26, 2010, but it was not placed before the House.