Rawalpindi-The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has sealed Lal Haveli, the residence of former federal minister on interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, in Raja Bazaar on Thursday.
The officials of ETPB and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) claimed that building’s registry (ownership documents) had been cancelled after court proceedings. They said Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, a close aide of former premier Imran Khan, has illegally occupied Lal Haveli since long. A team of ETPB, led by Deputy Administrator Asif Khan accompanied by FIA, police and district administration sealed the Lal Haveli of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, who is said to be under detention of LEAs.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Sadiq, the brother of Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, has approached Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench through his lawyer Sardar Abdul Razziq the action of ETPB and FIA. He claimed in petition that Lal Haveli was sealed and canceled the lease due to political revenge as the property was owned by him. However, ETPB Rawalpindi Deputy Administrator Asif Khan media that total area of Lal Haveli was more than 16 marlas but Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed owned five-marla part of the building in upper portion.
He said that the ETPB chairman decided to declare the whole property of Lal Haveli previously named Saray Sehgalan as trust property and to take control the building after proceedings over the registry submitted by Rashid. He said that registry of the portion owned by former Interior minister was not fake but in reference filed declare property no. D-156, D-157 and D-158 (units of Lal Haveli) situated in Bohr Bazar, Rawalpindi city, district Rawalpindi, as evacuee trust properties under the Evacuee Trust Properties (Management and Disposal) Act, 1975.” He said that after this, ETPB took over the management and control of the property and seal it. “The order was issued on a reference filed by the department for the declaration of D-156, D-157 and D-158 as evacuee trust properties,” he said.
He said that the appeal could be filed against the decision of ETPB Chairman with the relevant federal secretary and high court. The row over the property’s ownership surfaced in last year when the ETPB claimed that the ownership documents of one of Lal Haveli’s seven units were fake.
He said that seven units adjacent to Lal Haveli were on lease to seven different tenants but Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed used it as part of his Lal Haveli. He said that how is it possible that the first floor is owned by Sheikh Rashid but the ground floor is declared evacuee trust property. “The whole building is property of ETPB under Evacuee Trust Properties (Management and Disposal) Act, 1975,” he said.
Asif Khan said that Lal Haveli was ‘Saray Seghalan’, with municipal records from 1900 establishing that ‘Saray’ was evcauee trust. “The record of Saray still exists and is prevailing for the last 122 years,” he clarified after quoting ETPB chairman’s order. He said that the first floor is D-158 and beneath it, there are many premises with respect to which the tenants are paying rent to the ETP Board, so no registry against evacuee trust property can legally be made, and the ground reality is that there is no existence of other properties that are alleged as D-156 and D-157. Following the ETPB action, Sheikh Siddique filed another petition with the LHC Rawalpindi Bench, praying for the Lal Haveli to be de-sealed and the ETPB to be restrained from dispossessing him of the property or interfering into his possession in any manner till the final disposal of the petition. Sheikh Rashid Shafique, PTI former MNA and nephew of former Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, condemned the action against Lal Haveli and said that there was no issue of five marla land of Lal Haveli as it was registered with Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s younger brother Sheikh Sadeeq.
He said that the case was pending with Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench and the ETPB cancelled the registry which was unfair that without hearing our views and decision of high court on this case. He said that the seven units of ETPB property were not part of the Lal Haveli but adjacent to it.