SC reserves verdict in case pertaining to lease of govt land

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday reserved its verdict in a case pertaining to the lease of government land for petrol pumps.

A three-member bench of the court headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan heard the case regarding lease of government land to the private petrol pumps.

During the course of proceedings, Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that government property was deliberately donated blue-eyed people in the past.

He also questioned that who owns the land which leased to the petrol pumps. To which, Justice Azmat Saeed was told that most of the land belonged to LDA and the Punjab government.

Defence lawyer on this occasion revealed before the court that Governor Punjab sanctioned a move to construct a pump on Wahdat Road. At this, Justice Azmat Saeed expressed anger and said that why Governor did not allow to construct a pump in his residence.

Justice Azmat in his remarks said that the government had not constituted any policy on leasing land, people were getting jobless due to the closure of pumps.

The defence counsel said that the government leased land for construction of the petrol pumps for five years. He said that the person who got land on lease had to invest millions of rupees on land.

He said that the lease tenure of five years was not enough.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that it could be workout for tenure of lease.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that a site in Gulberg laboratory was leased out on Rs 5000 per month. A site in Misri Shah Lahore was leased for Rs 600 rent, he added.

He remarked that state assets were distributed among blue-eyed people.

Justice Azmat Saeed asked why the matter should not be forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). NAB would decide what crime has happened in the matter, he added.

He asked the lawyers to keep their voices dim as it was not a Lahore High Court where lawyers got decision after speaking loudly.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that the persons who got land on lease should have to pay current rent along with last three years dues.

The counsel for the Punjab government said that the provincial government had opted a policy for sale of commercial and industrial sites in the year 2003.

Justice Faisal Arab remarked that it seemed that the provincial government framed policy for not receiving rent of the land.

He observed that there would be no need to sell those sites if appropriate rent was found.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that rent of a site was increased from Rs 18,000 to Rs 18 million.

The Punjab government counsel said that the provincial government had abolished the policy of land sale.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that a site could not be leased without participation in auction.