The Sindh High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Sindh chief secretary, secretaries of forest, law and finance departments to submit comments on a petition against allotment of 9,000 acres of forest lands to Pakistan Army.
A division bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi directed the provincial law officer to ensure filing of comments by the provincial authorities by August 6.
A civil rights campaigner and secretary general of an NGO, United Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, moved the court against distribution of forest lands instead of arable lands among the heirs of martyred soldiers.
In the petition, Rana submitted that the Sindh chief minister had announced to allot 9,000 acres of forest lands in Garhi Yasin of Shikarpur district to Pakistan Army for distribution among the legal heirs of martyred military personnel. He stated that the provincial government allotted forest lands in violation of a court order as an SHC bench had granted a stay order against its allotment, with a ruling that it could not be used for any other purpose.
The petitioner wondered why the government had allotted forest lands to be distributed among heirs of martyred soldiers as there were hundreds of thousands acres of arable farming land available in the province. Moreover, he pointed out that the provincial government decided to allot the land when its many functionaries were arrested for their involvement in corrupt practices.
He pleaded with the judges to annul the allotment of 9000 acres forest lands to Army and direct the provincial authorities to allot revenue land.