ISLAMABAD, June 18: Some 250 families have appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to ensure rapid action on the suo motu case relating to their lands “occupied” by Bahria Town in Salkhtar area in Murree tehsil for its Golf City project.
Their representatives told a press conference here on Monday that the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had not heard their case for almost a year, while a judicial inquiry ordered by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry after taking suo motu notice had upheld their complaints.
Although illegal encroachments and transfers have been proved in various courts but political personalities and Punjab Government were hesitating to take action against the influential developer, they said.
“Malik Riaz occupied over 617 kanals of my land while I was away in China for liver transplant in 2005,” said Salkhtar political figure Mohammad Irfan Abbasi speaking for the “affected” people.
Police refused to register FIR against the property tycoon, he said.
However, things moved after three years when the chief justice took notice and instructed Session Judge Islamabad Mazhar Minhas to conduct an inquiry.
“Justice Minhas’ report proved that the land belonged to me but lawyers of Bahria Town submitted that the case was under trial in the Lahore High Court, due to which the Supreme Court instructed to wait for the high court's decision. But the case has not been heard for 11 months now,” he said.
“Land bearing Khasra numbers 448/430 belongs to me but Malik Riaz has been constructing a hotel on it,” he said.
Javed Akhtar, principal of a school in Salkhtar, said Malik Riaz occupied the land of his forefathers.
“There are 18 graveyards, three schools, three mosques and 250 houses in Salkhtar but now armed persons of Malik Riaz have started blocking the way to the village as they claim the land through which the access road passes.
“We challenged 42 transfers of land in favour of Malik Riaz in the civil court and Rawalpindi civil judge Hamid Hussain declared them fake and tempered. Still we could not repossess our land,” he said.
Javed Akhtar said Malik Riaz claims that out of 3,967 kanals of land in the area, he owns 3,333 kanals. “He transferred 270 kanals to the children of former prime minister Ch Shujaat and former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi to secure his claim,” he alleged.
According to Mr Akhtar, on April 16, 2012, a civil judge cancelled ownership of Malik Riaz over 3,270 kanals out of the 3,333 kanals but construction was going on in the cancelled area.
Lambardar Ikhlaq Hussain Abbasi, a traditional land record keeper of the area, said that the Supreme Court had ruled on July 31, 2009 that housing societies can not be constructed in Murree but Bahria Town continued to develop its Golf City that threatens to pollute Rawal Dam located just 15 kilometres from Salkhtar.
An aged woman, Zulekha Bibi, alleged that Malik Riaz got her 36 kanals illegally transferred to Bahria Town without paying her a single rupee.
Public relations officer of Bahria Town, Ms Nida, would not comment on the claims made at the press conference but insisted to Dawn that “Bahria Town has never done anything against the rules. Legal requirements must have been met in acquiring the land for Golf City and the construction there on”.