ISLAMABAD                 -             The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday maintained a high court verdict in a petrol pump land leasing case in Vehari and said the public property could not be leased to anyone without a bid.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprised Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, heard the case.

During the course of proceedings, Justice Faisal Arab asked how the government land could be leased for 30 years.

Justice Qazi Amin said if someone wished to construct a petrol pump, he should buy his own land. The state land was not meant to be given to specific people, he added.

The counsel for the petitioner said his client got state land on lease for 12 years which was extendable for 30 years later.

Justice Faisal Arab said no one could claim on state land after getting out of turn benefits from a government official.

Justice Qazi Amin said the land should have been auctioned after 12 years as the lease could not be automatically extended. Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the lease expired in 2007 and it was not extended.

The counsel for the petitioner said the Lahore High Court issued stay order in 2011. He said in another case, despite the stay order, the high court ordered the eviction of the land.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the high court's ruling was appropriate that the government land could not be granted on lease without a bid. He asked the counsel that his client misled the court. The time had come to protect state land, he added.