The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday suspended the allotment of plots to judges, bureaucrats and government employees in the capital’s F-14 and F-15 sectors .
A two-member bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, was hearing a petition filed by property owners in villages Thalla Syedan and Jhangi Syedan in Islamabad district against the acquisition of their land.
The chief justice said people from whom the land had been acquired would not be affected by the stay order as they had already been allotted alternate plots.
The estate director, law director and deputy commissioner of the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA) — which had allotted the plots after balloting — appeared in the court during the hearing today.
The deputy commissioner informed the court that the federal cabinet had formed a committee to look into the matter and present its report to the cabinet.
Upon this, Justice Minallah observed that the court had asked the federal government to explain its policy on the matter. “How did you jump over the people expecting [to be allotted plots] and give them to others?” he questioned.
The court was not talking about the affectees but the 31-32,000 members of the federal government who were awaiting plots, he added.
The deputy commissioner answered that plots were also allotted to the judiciary, journalists, lawyers and people from other organisations based on the quota system.
“What is the fault of labourers? Why are they not given plots?” questioned the chief justice.
He further asked about the number of members who had not been allotted plots in Islamabad’s sectors F-14 and F-15.
“There must be a waiting list. What was the policy? You have also allotted plots to judges who were sacked because of corruption. Is it the policy to encourage corruption?” he asked.
Justice Minallah observed that the federal government has to make a policy on how state land would be distributed, adding that it would have to solve the problem through the report submitted to it by the committee.
The deputy commissioner informed the court that the government was ready to compensate the affectees but they were “not cooperating”.
Justice Minallah remarked that the government’s policy should be to allot plots only to those who did not have homes of their own and prevent them from selling them afterwards.
He again observed, “You also allotted plots to convicted and fired judges.”
The counsel for the FGEHA argued that the judges must have been employed when they filled out the application for the allotment of plots.
He informed the court that nobody had been issued a final allotment letter yet, which would only be issued after approval from the relevant department.
Upon this, the chief justice remarked that the policy has to be decided by the federal government which would also look at all the issues.
Meanwhile, the IHC issued notice to the attorney general, directing him to appear in the next hearing on October 14.
Suspension of allotments to judiciary
Last month, the IHC chief justice had suspended the allotment of plots to the capital’s judiciary in sectors F-14 and F-15, observing that the award of land was a sheer conflict of interest.
The Federal Government Employees Housing Authority, during balloting, had allotted plots to Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and other judges of the superior judiciary as well as bureaucrats, including Dr Waqar Masood Khan and Dr Shahzad Arbab, who were elevated as special assistants to the prime minister after retiring from government service.
As per the record of the FGEHA, three sacked additional district and sessions judges — Pervaizul Qadir Memon, Raja Khurram Ali Khan and Jahangir Awan — were allotted a kanal plot each in F-14 and F-15 while two former civil judges, Adnan Jamali and Amir Khalil, were given plots measuring 14 marlas each in these sectors.
The names of judicial officers who are under observation for alleged incompetence are also among the beneficiaries.