Pakpattan shrine land case fixed for hearing on May 15


The Pakpattan shrine land case against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader and former premier Nawaz Sharif has been fixed for hearing by the Supreme Court (SC) on May 15.

Justice Umar Atta Bandial will head a three-judge bench comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Munib Akhtar to hear the case in the federal capital. The apex court has also issued notices to the former premier, the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) and others to appear in person before the court or through their legal representatives.

In December 2018, the top court had constituted a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the illegal transfer of a piece of land belonging to the Auqaf department in Punjab’s Pakpattan district during 1985.

On January 15, the JIT told SC through its report that Nawaz had illegally allotted 14,398 acres of Waqf property, which is attached to the shrine of Baba Farid-ud-Din Ganj Shakar in Pakpattan to one named Dewan Ghulam Qutab when he was the provincial chief executive.

On February 16, Nawaz submitted the response in the capacity of former Punjab chief minister, a position which he held from April 1985 to August 1990 before being elevated to the post of the country’s prime minister in November 1990.

A three-judge SC bench headed by then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar, upon receiving the JIT report, had asked Nawaz and the Punjab government to furnish replies on the report within a fortnight.

In his response, Nawaz termed the JIT report “one-sided” and based on “mala fide intentions”.

He requested the court to dismiss the investigation report which incriminated him in the illegal land allotment case.

Raising questions on the formation of the JIT headed by Hussain Asghar, Nawaz said that the top court had constituted a three-member JIT on December 27 last year, which had to include one officer each from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).

However, he said, the other two officers were not named in the JIT report. Moreover, the report doesn’t mention the court’s consent on the Terms of Reference (ToRs).

He maintained that due to these reasons, it appears as if the report was prepared solely by Hussain Asghar in contravention to the court’s orders.

The response also said that the JIT did not contact Nawaz at any point during its investigations, which was “a violation of his fundamental rights”.