ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan has been asked to order the Chief Minister of Sindh to cancel all the land and plots allotted illegally.

Transparency International Pakistan has filed an application yesterday in the apex court for passing an appropriate order in that regard. A three-judge bench would take up the case of sale of state land illegally on December 8. The TI has already pointed out to the apex court regarding the illegal allotment of 1175 acres of Malir River land, 300 acres of Clifton Beach, 5222 acres in Thatta, 300 acres in Noriabad, last year.

The land mafias in Karachi in connivance with the public office holders are involved in allotment of land illegally by using forged documents and illegal notifications for the last 20 years.

The Sindh government cancelled these and other allotments, which are about 40,000 acres, when the TI had informed the Supreme Court about them. However, the Sindh Chief Minister on the summary dated 19-09-15 of Secretary Land Status Sindh withdrew the notifications of cancellation. The CM Sindh also approved a summary regarding conversion of existing 30 years lease granted for poultry, agriculture or cattle farming for 99 years lease for industrial purpose on an application dated 24-11-2010.

The applicant also highlighted that the Deputy Commissioners have frequently exercised the power regarding exchange of land on their own discretion without obtaining the approval of Committee on Oversee and Finalise and processed the cases under Section 17 of Colonization of Government Lands (Sindh) Act 1912.

He stated that according to the Section 10(2) of the Act only the chief minister is authorized to allot the land for non-agriculture purposes. “A DC can neither allot directly nor can give single inch of government land in exchange. He is also not authorised to pass any order in supersession of the chief minister’s orders,” the petition said. The Section 17 could be applied only in grants of agriculture purposes. The government land cannot be given in exchange of private land for non-agricultural use, adding the amendment in section 17 was introduced in 1995 to prohibit the transfer of government valuable land to the private persons in garb of exchange.

He said the Land Utilisation Department has examined the issued and proposed that such allotments be cancelled/withdrawn/deleted to protect the precious government land. Similarly, all the orders of the district commissioners of district officers regarding allotment of state land in exchange, even with the approval of committee of commissioner or EDO (Revenue), be withdrawn and land retrieved. The petitioner said that on the recommendations of Land Utilisation Department thousands of acres of land and plots allotted illegally were under the process of cancellation but due to political pressure the process is stopped, which is against the interest of the state as billions of rupees are involved in this mega corruption.