SC issues notice to Nawaz in shrine land case

ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court has issued notice to Nawaz Sharif in a three decades old land dispute and fixed the case for hearing on May 15.

The allegation against Sharif is that he being the chief minister of Punjab in 1986 had ordered withdrawal of a notification issued in 1969 and returned Auqaf land to Dewan Ghulam Qutab in violation of the court’s order.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial will hear the matter. The other members of the bench include Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Munib Akhar.

Notices have also been issued to Advocate General Punjab, caretaker and Sajjada Nasheen of the Shrine, Punjab Auqaf Department and others.

In the instant case, former Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on December 13 had constituted a three-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the dispute regarding alleged illegal transfer of 14,394 kanals of Auqaf land in Pakpattan by deposed Sharif, when he was Chief Minister of Punjab in 1986.

The JIT, headed by Punjab’s Anti-Corruption Establishment’s then Director General Hussain Asghar and comprising two officials each from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) had conducted investigation. Hussain Asghar is now serving as Deputy Chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The JIT in its report had revealed that Sharif illegally allotted thousands of acres of Waqf property attached to the shrine of Hazrat Baba Farid-ud-Din Ganj Shakkar in Pakpattan during his tenure as Punjab Chief Minister. The JIT had recommended criminal proceedings against Sharif.

However, Sharif on February 16 rejected the JIT report arguing that the Report does not even refer to any document whereby JIT members may have been nominated and does not even purport to have been prepared by or on behalf of a JIT nor is it signed by any person other than Hussain Asghar.

“The “Report” does not claim nor state as a matter of fact that these TORs were put up by any JIT for consideration and approval of, or were approved by this august Court in terms of order dated 13.12.2018 or 27.12.2018.”

“The bare perusal of the “Report” shows that it is a “Report” prepared unilaterally by Hussain Asghar, while the order sheet of this august Court unequivocally establishes that no such authority was conferred on him by this august Court.”

“Without prejudice to the foregoing, it is submitted that the Report of Mr Hussain Asghar has been prepared in an utterly biased and one-sided manner, without following the due process and legal formalities and in grave violation of the answering respondent’s fundamental rights and in breach of Article 4,9,10-A,14 and 15 of the Constitution.”

Sharif also gave reasons for rejection of the Report against him. He contends that he had not been issued notice in this respect adding that it appears that the Report has been prepared merely relying on the solitary written note made by Syed Javed Iqbal Bukhari, the then Secretary to the Chief Minister.

“In fact Hussain Asghar, in his zeal to implicate the answering respondent (Sharif) in some wrongdoing or the other, has completely ignored the fact that the particulars of the Notification mentioned in the “summary” alleged to have originated from the Chief Minister’s Office do not tally with the particulars of the Notification that was actually withdrawn by the Auqaf Department, so that as a matter of fact no order or summary originating from the then CM’s office bears the reference Number or date of the Notification.”

It submitted that the mala fide of Asghar in preparing this abundantly biased and one-sided report is further evident in that, despite the fact that it has been noted in his Report that Administrator Auqaf Punjab Kaleem Ullah pointed out that the notification number and the date mentioned in the application of Dewan Gulam Qutab-ud-Din, and in the purported approval by the CM in the Summary do not match with each other.

“There is no piece of cogent evidence collected by or mentioned in Mr. Hussain Asghar’s Report which suggests that the answering respondent (Sharif) has connived with anyone including the Dewans and thereby has benefited in any manner whatsoever.”

The report is neither supported by the written statement or note by any person who may have been associated by Asghar during investigation purportedly carried out by him, or by any document referred to in the Report, the objections stated.

“Thus, Hussain Asghar, without any evidence, has concluded that the answering respondent (Sharif) was in any manner “prima facie, involved in the misappropriation of state land of Auqaf Department.”


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