ISLAMABAD - The Punjab government Thursday informed the Supreme Court that pending litigations in various courts is significantly impacting the financial health of Auqaf Department.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, observed that Auqaf Department is not serious to clear its cases pending in various courts. The bench sought the details of income of the Auqaf Department, and how much money it gets from shrines and who keeps its record? In compliance of the March 4 order, Additional Advocate General Punjab Razaq A Mirza submitted a report, wherein it is stated that pending litigation is significantly impacting the financial health of the department, adding 1,25,375 kanals land in the Punjab province are in litigation.

The report further says that a total of 37 sites have been leased out for the petrol pumps, wherein 11 sites, including petrol pump site, in question have the potential to generate substantial revenue as at the time of initial leasing they could not fetch the same. It was also informed that 24 commercial sites, leased out for different purposes, other than petrol pumps, can potentially generate more resources for the organization, if re-auctioned.

The report also says: “5,711 shops and 838 residential units under the possession of the incumbents at the time of taking over of the Waqf properties and being charged only a nominal rent were leased out to the same on the existing terms & conditions.”

“The department made efforts to increase their rent through amended Punjab Waqf Properties (Administration) Rules 2002 as the rent was increased at the rate of 25 percent after every three years accordingly. These properties have the potential to earn sizeable revenue considering their locations and marketability either through re-auction or reassessment of rent,” it adds.

The report says that 1,312 kanals land have been leased out to 26 government departments, adding that 25 kanals land were given to four private persons without auction. The hearing of case is adjourned for two weeks.