Sindh govt cancels 14,617 acres of land allotted to Bahria Town | Pakistan Today

Sindh govt cancels 14,617 acres of land allotted to Bahria Town

–Malir Development Authority (MDA), deputy commissioner, local govt secretary directed to take appropriate action

–Sindh Board of Revenue may grant new land to Bahria Town in pursuance of top court’s judgement

KARACHI: In a major action to comply with the orders of the apex court, the Sindh government has cancelled/withdrawn at least 14,617 acres of land allotted to Bahria Town Karachi.

In May this year, the Supreme Court in a 2-1 verdict barred Bahria Town from selling or allotting land in the Bahria Town Karachi project, as it struck down the shady allotment of land to the company by the Sindh government through the Malir Development Authority (MDA).

Insiders told Pakistan Today that a high-powered meeting under the chairmanship Muhammad Hussain Syed, a senior member of the Sindh Board of Revenue, decided to cancel the land allotted to the Bahria Town.

“In compliance of orders passed by the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan, it was decided that Land Utilisation Department shall cancel/withdraw order dated 24-1-2014 regarding reservation of 14,617 acres of land in favour of Malir Development Authority having no perpetual, subsequent and consequential effect being void ab initio,” an official document of the reads.

Minutes of Oct 29 meeting held under chairpersonship of Sindh Board of Revenue senior member. Part 1/2

Minutes of Oct 29 meeting held under the chairpersonship of Sindh Board of Revenue senior member. Part 2/2

It adds, “Similarly, pursuant to the orders of the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan, allotment order(s) in respect of 11,068 acres of land issued in favour of the Malir Development Authority stands revoked and rescinded being void ab initio having no legal standing.”

The document further states that the participants of the meeting also decided that the departments concerned shall “provide the name(s) of all the government functionaries with their specific role including those involved in the decision-making process in the light of orders of Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan.”

The meeting decided that the Malir deputy commissioner “shall take necessary action accordingly as per orders of Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan”.

However, the document says that the Sindh Board of Revenue may grant new land to the Bahria Town in pursuance of the top court’s May 4 judgement.

The local government secretary and MDA have also been asked to “take appropriate action with regard to the exchange of land with Bahria [Town]”, the document reads.

This October 29 meeting was attended by land utilisation department secretary, local government secretary, MDA director general, and Malir deputy commissioner.

BAHRIA TOWN FINANCIAL CRISIS:

Bahria Town, a privately owned real estate development company which operates across the country, is facing a severe financial crisis after the Supreme Court’s verdict regarding sale and purchase of property in Bahria Town Karachi.

On Saturday, the employees and contractors of Bahria Town, who had blocked the Super Highway while protesting against non-payment of salaries, ended their demonstration after six hours of negotiations with the police and provincial authorities.

It is feared that over 45,000 employees of the Bahria Town may face delays in their salaries. Contractors are also not getting paid and various contracts worth millions of rupees have been cancelled.

According to rough estimates, the investment in Bahria Town projects is almost $20 billion. All restoration and development work came to a halt due to the crisis. Since the top court’s verdict, there has been no progress in all development projects of the housing scheme.

CITIZENS DEMAND WAY OUT:

Common citizens and overseas Pakistanis, who made investments in one of the most prime real estate opportunities using their life’s savings, have demanded a way out of the financial crisis. Many people have landed themselves into a dead end after buying properties for either residential and commercial use in the Bahria Town Karachi as a result of the actions taken by the government and courts.

The third-party investors argue that the schemes were advertised hundreds of times in the country and abroad while they made payments through proper banking channels. Similarly, the future of employees and dealers of the real estate company is also at stake.

The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Karachi Bureau.



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