islamabad - The Islamabad Capital Territory administration has set aside dubious proceedings regarding demarcation and handing over of the CDA land to its rightful owner in the area of Shah Allah Ditta here in Islamabad, The Nation has learnt.

The Supreme Court had directed Surveyor General of Pakistan and Chairman Capital Development Authority to carry out demarcation of the forest land as well as the land on which a private housing society named North Ridge has been established in Shah Allah Ditta area. The said that demarcation was carried out and the report was submitted in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in April 2018 in the case of cutting of trees from Margalla Hills and Lora KPK by the stone crushing mafia. The apex court directed the concerned authorities to immediately carry out the handing/taking over of the land to its rightful owners as per survey report of Survey of Pakistan. Subsequently, the proceedings for handing/taking over of land to/from CDA, forest department, and management of the North Ridge housing society were carried out on 9 April 2018. However, the office of District Collector (Revenue) ICT received the objections from other stake holders regarding the proceedings of handing over of the land. The District Magistrate in his decision said that the 78 kanals retrieval of forest land could not be pointed out by the forest officials on the last proceedings hence they should be deemed to have not been done.

The decision further said that only a senior level representative of CDA can ensure handing and taking over two pieces of land i.e. 112 kanals and 78 kanals in quid pro basis, as ordered by the Supreme Court. The District Magistrate said, in order to ensure fairness and transparency in implementation of the directions of the Supreme Court, it has been decided that the proceedings carried out on 9 April 2018 be reconfirmed and re-verified. It further said that a committee of senior officers of all the departments should supervise the re-verification proceedings. He has requested that an officer not below the rank of divisional forest officer may join the proceedings of re-confirmation and re-verification of the earlier proceedings.

In April this year, the authorities had handed over a piece of land in the foothills of Margalla worth billions of rupees to its ‘rightful’ owner after carrying out demarcation proceedings. The proceedings were dubious because the CDA (and Revenue Department of the ICT) was kept away from them, the official report had suggested. A low-level team was constituted which handed over 112 kanals of land to one Khalid Mahmood Bhatti on 9 April 2018, who, according to the sources, owns lesser land in that area. Neither was any public hearing conducted, nor were public objections sought by the authorities in accordance with the law before handing over the private land to its rightful owner (s). The ‘attendance report’ prepared by the concerned officials speaks a lot about how the CDA remained aloof from the proceedings and did not assign a senior level officer for the job. The report pertaining to the land in Khasra number 563 adjacent to the state land in mouza Shah Allah Ditta Tehsil and District Islamabad and prepared by the Punjab Forest Department had suggested that the land in the said khasra is in joint ownership. It said the Chairman CDA, under the directions of the Supreme Court, had to hand over private land from Burji number 21 to 27 to its rightful owner/complainant in the case as per report of Survey of Pakistan. The report suggested that the complainant in the case, Khalid Mahmood Bhatti had to surrender 78 kanals of land currently in the ownership of Punjab Forest Department, to CDA. However, the report of Survey of Pakistan had no mention of the Forest Department’s land. “Instead of a responsible officer from the CDA turning up at the site during the handing/taking over, a lower grade official of the CDA’s forest department called Lal Badshah came to the site without any knowledge of the 78 kanals of the land of Punjab Forest Department which was to be retrieved from the complainant in the case,” said the report. “When asked about the land, Lal Badshah told the officials that he has no knowledge about it. Member Planning CDA Asad Kiani was also contacted via phone who said that forester Lal Badshah is present on the occasion as representative of the CDA,” the report further said.

The Punjab Forest Department officials handed over the land from Burji number 21 to 27 as per report of the Survey of Pakistan to its ‘rightful’ owner. However, they noted in the report that the CDA officials would be in a better position to explain about the 78 kanals of the land which the complainant Khalid Mahmood Bhatti was supposed to surrender.