ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan yesterday granted post-bail to Editor-in-Chief of the Jang/Geo Group, Mir Shakil ur Rehman in the LDA plot case.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam conducted hearing of Mir Shakil ur Rehman (MSR) bail plea against a division bench of Lahore High Court (LHC). It was July 8 when the LHC bench had turned down the bail petition of Shakil ur Rehman.

Shakil ur Rehamn’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz Advocate informed the bench that his client had not damaged the national exchequer and the original FIR was against four people but only Mir Shakeel was arrested.

Earlier on September 30, Justice Umar Ata Bandial had refused to hear Mir Shakil ur Rehman’s post-arrest bail application due to personal reason.

During the hearing, the counsel contended that the allegation against his client was that he had purchased one plot in Lahore with the connivance of the DG Lahore Development Authority, and director Land Revenue. He said that none of the co-accused was arrested, but his client was behind the bars, since 12th March 2020 without any trial.

Amjad Pervaiz said that the issue was over 180 kanals and 18 marlas of land, which had been taken over by the LDA for the Mohammad Ali Johar Town in Lahore in 1982. The land had been divided among the heirs of the original owner in 1985 after the owner’s death.

Justice Qazi Amin inquired that when was this land acquired by the petitioner and has NAB raised the question of any loss to the national exchequer [caused through this transaction].

The counsel replied in negative and said that the NAB has not contested any loss to the exchequer. He added that this case was not filed by any government department, but by a private citizen. Justice Yahya Afridi questioned that whether the applicant owns more land than he was allotted?

Amjad Pervaiz responded that his client bought an additional four kanals and 12 marlas of land and paid the Lahore Development Authority for it at the policy rate of Rs60,000 per kanal. Justice Afridi said that the allegation is that this land was meant for roads and pathways. Mir’s counsel said that the NAB is arguing that this additional land was meant for roads and pathways, but the Lahore Master Plan was approved on August 27, 1990. MSR bought the land in 1987, and paid for the additional land as well. Whatever construction was subsequently done on the purchased land was done with LDA’s approval.