SC asks Bahria Town to revisit Rs435bn settlement offer | Pakistan Today

SC asks Bahria Town to revisit Rs435bn settlement offer

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday asked Bahria Town to revisit its latest offer of Rs435 billion as the “full and final settlement” for the land it occupies in Malir district of Karachi.

Bahria Town presented a total offer of Rs479.598 billion for three cases, including the Bahria Town Karachi Super Highway Project land, Takht Pari Forest land and the Sulkhtar and Manga land it has illegally taken over.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Azmat Saeed heard the case during which the legal counsel for Bahria Town, Barrister Ali Zafar, said that they would pay Rs435 billion for Bahria Town Karachi over a period of nine years.

In response to this, Justice Saeed asked them to turn this into a “round figure”.

Bahria Town had previously increased its offer to Rs405 billion from the earlier Rs358 billion for the lands it possesses in the Malir district of Karachi. However, this had not satisfied the apex court.

The court had taken up implementation of its May 4, 2018 judgement in the case which held that the land grant to the Malir Development Authority (MDA) by the Sindh government, its exchange with the land of the private land developers — Bahria Town — and anything done under the provisions of the Colonisation of Government Land Act 1912 by the provincial government was illegal.

The land was granted to the MDA for launching an incremental housing scheme, but instead of doing so, the authority swapped it with Bahria Town, which launched a scheme of its own, the judgement had held.

Currently, Bahria Town has possession of 16,896 acres of land in Malir district, whereas it has surrendered 7,675 acres to the MDA.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Justice Saeed noted that the map presented by Prism Marketing, a private marketing company and an authorised dealer to sell plots on behalf of the Bahria Town, was different from that submitted by Bahria Town. He added that the area that Bahria Town had surrendered had also been included as a marketable area in Prism’s map.

While addressing Barrister Zafar, Justice Saeed noted that Bahria Town had submitted another petition which said that an alternative area would be provided if allotment was done in these areas.

Barrister Zafar said that the area for which Bahria Town has been denied ownership, alternative allotment will be provided.

In a previous hearing on February 28, the SC had expressed surprise as to why an authorised dealer of Bahria Town had shown in its record the sale of those lands which the real estate company did not possess or had surrendered to the MDA.

A reply furnished by the Prism Marketing had shown the sale of plots in certain precincts or areas which do not fall in the category of those owned by the developer tycoon Malik Riaz or which had been given up by him.

Additionally, the court also asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to complete its investigation. On February 12, the SC had ordered NAB to go ahead with finalising references against the Bahria Town (Pvt) Ltd.

After asking Bahria Town to revisit its latest offer, the hearing of the case was adjourned till March 13.



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