LAHORE: Bahria Town’s lawyer Azhar Siddique on Friday took strong exception to the accusations levelled against the real estate developer by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and criticised the provincial chief executive for presenting “incorrect” facts and figures.
The chief minister on Thursday had claimed that three cases of illegal land acquisition have surfaced against Bahria Town Lahore.
“In the first one, Bahria Town illegally occupied 47 kanals and 15 marlas of state land belonging to Punjab Cooperatives Board for Liquidation (PCBL). The cost of this land is Rs2.35 billion whereas, in the second one, it illegally occupied 59 kanals of Punjab Auqaf Department’s land worth Rs1.77 billion,” the chief minister had said while addressing a press conference.
Bahria Town also started a number of housing societies, including Bahria Orchard II, III, IV and Icon Valley to name a few, without the approval of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), due to which losses worth Rs1.12 billion were inflicted to the national exchequer, the chief minister had claimed.
Reacting to CM Buzdar’s claims in a TV show on Friday, Azhar Siddique said the chief minister should prove his allegations. “The government, by levelling such allegations against Bahria Town, is causing unemployment in Punjab,” he added.
Siddique refuted the CM’s claim that Bahria Town had grabbed land of the PCBL and said, “Actually, the PCBL land was acquired through a joint account of the Services Cooperative Society and Bahria Town.”
“Do you believe that Bahria Town was stupid enough to construct a seven-star hotel and a community centre worth millions of rupees on someone else’s land? Actually, it is Bahria Town’s land that is occupied by PCBL.”
The case pertaining to this matter is being heard by the high court, he said.
“It [high court] also ordered a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) probe into the case following which it was proved that Bahria Town had not done anything illegal. It was just a mistake,” Siddique said, adding that PCBL was also offered land in exchange of the land in question.
“Moreover, according to the CM, the price of the land is Rs2.35 billion, which too is incorrect. He [Buzdar] does not even know the difference between raw land and developed land,” Siddique said and added that CM Buzdar levelled the allegations “without doing any homework”.
“Similarly, we reject the allegations regarding Ittefaq Foundry’s 240-kanal land. Bahria Town has nothing to do with it and there is not even a single inch of state land within Al-Rahmat Housing Society.”
There were only 4 kanals of small industries land which is already in their possession, he said.