Notices issued for May 9: LHC refrains Punjab from handing over 45,000 acres to army

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has refrained the Punjab caretaker government from handing over around 45,267 acres in three districts of the province to Pakistan Army for “Corporate Agriculture Farming”.

A notification issued by the GHQ Land Directorate on March 10 read that 45,267 acres of farm land had been handed over to the Pakistan Army in different districts of Punjab.

LHC judge Abid Hussain Chattha on Thursday, issued a two-page verdict, stopping the province’s caretaker government from extending any “lease of state land” for this purpose.

The judgment was issued over a plea filed by Ahmad Rafay Alam on behalf of the Public Interest Law Association of Pakistan on March 28. The LHC issued notices to the respondents for May 9, seeking their response on the matter.

It is to be noted that the GHQ Land Directorate wrote to the Punjab chief secretary, Board of Revenue and agriculture, forest, livestock and irrigation departments secretaries for handing over of 42,724 acres in Kaloor Kot and Mankera tehsils in Bhakkar, 1,818 acres in Quaidabad and Khushab tehsils of Khushab district, and 725 acres in Chichawatni tehsil of Sahiwal.

The letter referred to a notification of the Punjab government dated February 20, 2023, and a joint venture agreement signed on March 8.

Following this development, the Punjab’s caretaker set-up immediately signed a pact with the army to hand over the land it had mentioned in its letter to it.

During of the case, the court observed that the points raised by the petitioner needed consideration. The judge also sent notices to the attorney general for Pakistan and Punjab advocate general.

The verdict read that the petitioners had argued that under Section 230 of the Election Act, 2017, the mandate and scope of the caretaker government was limited to perform day-to-day functions and it was specifically barred to make policy decisions of a permanent nature.

“The impugned notification which as per clause 9 thereof allows grant of state land for a period of thirty years, is a decision of a permanent nature which could not have been taken by the caretaker government,” it added.

The verdict further stated that in addition, the counsel had also referred to a letter dated March 10, 2023, written by the director general of strategic projects, Pakistan Army to the functionaries of the Punjab government seeking handing over of State land for ‘corporate agriculture farming’.

“[The petitioner] contends that constitutional mandate restricts [the] army to perform functions of external and internal security and does not extend to Corporate Agriculture Farming,” it added.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Must Read

The irony of becoming what you once hated 

Resistance is a 2020 biographical drama film based on true events of the Holocaust - indeed one of the darkest chapters in human history. The...

Exploiting interns