SC directs Swat DRO to retrieve citizen’s land

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Expressing annoyance over the defence secretary for not submitting reply on the alleged occupation of a land of a citizen in Swat by the security forces, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the district revenue officer (DRO) to give the grabbed land to the applicants and submit a report by January 27.
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez also ordered that no concerned authority would interfere in the process of retrieving the occupied land of the citizen.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Abdul Ghaffar seeking permission to enter his property, allegedly occupied by the Pakistan Army for the last three years.
The court noted that the defence secretary did not submit the report to the petition, which indicated that the Defence Ministry had nothing to say in its defence, therefore, the petitioner was entitled to get relief.
When the court resumed hearing on the petition, instead of the defence secretary, a section officer of the Defence Ministry appeared before it, upon which the chief justice expressed severe dismay asking the attorney general: “We had summoned the defence secretary, but a section officer has been sent.”
“Is this the respect being given to the judiciary by the government?” he maintained. To a court query that what type of terrorism was the petitioner involved, the section officer could not reply.
However Sanaullah Zahid, counsel for the petitioner, denied that his client was a terrorist and claimed that in December 2011, some of his property had been leased out through auction. He contended that his client was not involved in any illegal or anti-state activity, which he said was also acknowledged and conceded before the court by the deputy attorney general. He said his client had been a member of the local chapter of the Jamaat-e-Islami and had later become the president of the Swat Kissan Board. The court adjourned further hearing until January 27.