ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to former Punjab chief minister Nawaz Sharif in a suo motu case regarding illegal construction of shops near a shrine in Pakpattan.

The top court also issued notices to all purchasers of the property of Dewan Ghulam Qutub-ud-Din.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard a suo motu of 2015 regarding shops on a plot of 17 Marlas owned by Bewan Ghulam Qutub-ud-Din of Pakpattan, which was later sold to Auqaf Department.

During the hearing, the CJ questioned if the permission was granted for construction of shops on the Auqaf land. The bench further asked about the law under which the permission was granted.

A notification issued in 1985 was also cited in the case after which the CJ inquired as to who was then Auqaf Department’s secretary. The Additional Advocate General Punjab Qasim Chohan informed the bench that then Auqaf secretary has been passed away.

The bench then asked under which law the notification was revoked. To this, Advocate Iftikhar Gillani informed the bench that notification was revoked by the same authority who issued it.

During the course of hearing, Advocate Gillani informed the court that the property was in ownership of more than 8000 people and that top court could not state notification as unconstitutional after the passage of almost 29 years.

However, the Chief Justice responded that the top court was custodian of the property as well as constitution and law.

Advocate Gillani responded that the owners were custodian of property and people of this country were custodian of the Constitution while the top court was only answerable to the law and Constitution.

During the hearing, exchange of harsh words took place between Advocate Gillani and the Chief Justice. The CJ cautioned the counsel to observe his tone while addressing the court. However, Advocate Gillani responded that he would respond in the same tone used by the Chief Justice.

When the matter calmed after a while with the interference of Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), the counsel requested the court to fix the matter before any other bench. Rejecting the request, the Chief Justice angrily remarked that he would hear all the cases of Advocate Gillani.

While issuing notices to Nawaz Sharif , who was then chief minister of Punjab, and all the purchasers, the top court adjourned the hearing.

The top court on August 6 had directed the Punjab Revenue Department to respond as to what was the property originally owned by Dewan Moudood Masud; how much of the property was sold/alienated at different points of time; what property is left Dewan’s name and details of transferee(s) of the property on account of transactions by Dewan.

The property under litigation belonged to Dewan Ghulam Qutub-ud-Din, the present Dewan named Moudood Masud is in his lineage as one of the successors. So the Revenue Department has set out property of Dewan Ghulam Qutab-ud-Din as a reference point for addressing directions of the top court.

It is submitted by the Punjab Government that land measuring 36230 Kanal, 17 Marla, 5 Sarsai in seven revenue estates was owned by Dewan Ghulam Qutub-ud-Din as per settlement record of 1957-58. Whereafter, land measuring 21837 Kanal, 5 Marla was transferred in favour of Federal Land Commission. Remaining land measuring 14393 Kanal, 12 Marla, 5 Sarsai rested with Dewan Ghulam Qutub-ud-Din.

It is further submitted that no property is existent in the name of Dewan Ghulam Qutub-ud-Din as per Revenue Record. Further his legal heirs are holding only 360 Kanal, 5 Marla of land in their name that too is pledged with Bank of Punjab for different considerations.

It may be added that land measuring 12189 Kanal, 4 Marla was sold out by Dewan Ghulam Qutub-ud-Din and his legal heirs, whose 9055 mutations were recorded between 13072 different buyers till July 9 of 2015. However current owners of sold out land, as per current Register are 8458.