LAHORE - The Supreme Court on Saturday wrapped up a suo motu case regarding the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) City Housing Scheme as the Punjab government assured the apex court that the project’s victims would be allotted properties.

The assurance was given by Punjab Minister for Housing Mehmoodur Rasheed during a hearing of the case by a two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar at SC’s Lahore Registry.

At the outset of the hearing, the chief justice expressed displeasure over the inclusion of the officials of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a body constituted to ensure the provision of land or compensation to the project’s victims. The top judge asked why NAB’s sword had been hanging over the victims’ heads.

While hearing the complaints of those who purchased files of the LDA City but never got plots or their money returned, the chief justice remarked that the victims paid money to buy the land in the LDA City but they were given their properties.  During the hearing, the minister said a total of 9, 000 people held files owning land in the LDA City however at present, no land was available to be allotted to them. He informed the court that as many as 98,000 kanals of grabbed land was yet to be retrieved. The government had a plan to reserve 13,500 kanals of land to develop the project’s phase-I where the victims would be allotted plots.

Earlier, the top judge directed the minister, chief secretary and the NAB to come up with a workable plan to compensate the victims. Observing that owners of Paragon City and other firms had become brokers in the process, he had directed the LDA to cancel agreement if the firms had failed to provide the land within a eriod of one year.

However, LDA Director General Amina Imran Khan had said the companies acquired c-category land for the project. On the reply, the chief directed her to get criminal cases registered against those companies’ owners.

The judge had also sought a compensation plan from the minister for housing, chief secretary, the NAB and other authorities for the affectees till yesterday.

As per directives, the government assured the court that the victims would be given land and the court wrapped up the case accordingly.

SC orders leasing 24 fuel

 stations thru auction

The Supreme Court (SC) on Saturday ordered the government to lease 24 filling stations situated at Metropolitan Corporation Lahore (MCL) and Punjab government land in the provincial capital   through auction. A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar was hearing an application against the allotment of filling station sites belonging to the MCL and government on throwaway prices. The application was filed by one Abdullah Malik.

As the hearing got started, Deputy Commissioner Saliha Saeed appeared before the court and said that out of 32 filling stations, 24 were functional while the other eight had been razed to ground because they fall in the route of the Orange Line Train project. She further informed the court that the lease of all petrol pumps had expired while they had been paying a very small money in the shape of rent. She added that four petrol filling stations were situated on MCL land whereas remaining on the Punjab government’s land. On the details presented by the DC, the court remarked that the misuse of state property would not be allowed, and ordered the government to lease all the 24 filling stations through auction.