Bahria Town Karachi on Wednesday requested the Supreme Court to reassess the Rs. 460 billion offer it had made for the land it occupies in Karachi’s Malir district, arguing that the sum was against a parcel of land larger that it had been granted legal possession of.
Resuming hearings into the implementation of the apex court’s March 21, 2019 verdict, a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa questioned the concept of an implementation bench and asked Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Amir Rehman to assist in the matter. He remarked that the same bench hearing the case had the competency to ensure its verdict was implemented.
The CJP also questioned why the case had not been fixed for hearing for two-and-a-half years, wondering whether Bahria Town had filed any application for early hearing. He observed that it was a very serious matter and the court would look into it.
During the hearing, Bahria Town’s counsel Salman Aslam Butt argued that the original ruling had required the real estate developer to pay Rs. 460 billion for leasing rights to 16,896 acres of land. He said Sindh authorities had thus far only given Bahria Town legal possession of 11,747 acres, leaving a shortfall of 5,149 acres. As such, he argued, the Rs. 460 billion should be re-assessed to reflect the actual amount of land that had been provided to Bahria Town.
To this, the bench asked the counsel why he had not moved a contempt petition against the provincial authorities for not giving possession of the land provided under the agreement. Justice Athar Minallah observed that reassessing would require revisiting the original case, adding the judgment in this matter had already attained finality. He further remarked that the judgment had stated that Bahria Town would be deemed a defaulter if it failed to pay first two instalments on time.
The counsel also sought to submit a plea demanding that all entities acquiring land in Karachi be charged the same amount, arguing that Bahria Town was paying more than DHA Karachi. The bench urged the counsel to move a separate petition for invoking the suo motu jurisdiction in the matter.
The bench was told that Bahria Town had, thus far, deposited a liability of Rs. 65 billion in the apex court’s account. To this, Justice Minallah inquired whether the Supreme Court could retain such an amount legally.
During proceedings, the Sindh advocate general sought time to file a concise statement regarding the possession of land. The bench, meanwhile, issued notices to all those who had deposited liability amount of Bahria Town in the Supreme Court account.
The case was then adjourned until Nov. 8.
In 2019, the Supreme Court had accepted Bahria Town’s offer to pay Rs. 460 billion to settle a case pertaining to its Malir or Karachi Super Highway project. It was bound to pay the amount in monthly installments of Rs. 2.25 billion for three years, with the full amount to be paid in seven years.