KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the railroad secretary to submit a response to a request on the abandoned structure of the Hyatt Regency hotel built on a piece of land on the Pakistan railway.
A three-member bank, headed by the President of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Gulzar Ahmed, also asked the secretary to submit the response with the approval of the railroad minister.
The bank that also includes Judge Faisal Arab and Judge Sajjad Ali Shah approved these directives while listening to a matter related to the lease of first-class land belonging to the PR in the Karachi register of the SC.
The president of the court questioned how the land estimated at Rs 53 trillion was sold for just Rs 530 million.
He also noted that the Privatization Commission had no authority to sell the land belonging to the PR according to the law, since it was a public property.
The CJP noted that the Minister of Railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, during a recent hearing had informed the higher court that the entire railway department could be renewed if a plot belonging to it was sold at market value.
The superior court asks the railroad secretary to present an answer about the structure of the Hyatt Regency hotel
At a previous hearing, the court summoned the general prosecutor of Pakistan along with the registration of a land on which the abandoned structure of the Hyatt Regency Hotel was built.
During the hearing, the bank was informed that the abandoned building was in the possession of Aqeel Karim Dhedhi since the PR leased the land in 2004 for 99 years to establish the National Commodity Exchange.
Mr. Dhedhi’s lawyer had claimed that the Privatization Commission had leased the land after completing all the paperwork.
However, a public relations official said that according to a previous directive of the cusp court, the railroad lands could not be leased for more than five years.
Sindh’s general lawyer had also claimed that the land was intended for railway purposes only.
Notice to KMC, KDA, KPT issued
The court issued notices for attorney general Sindh, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the Karachi Development Authority and the Karachi Port Trust in a case related to the construction of a commercial building on a service plot and part of Shaheed Benazir Park in Boat basin.
A lawyer appeared on behalf of the builder Akhlaq Memon and claimed that the latter had moved to Canada.
The bank also called the files of the pending lawsuits before the Sindh High Court regarding the property in question.
Published on Dawn, February 22, 2020
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