KARACHI - The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday granted protective bail to former Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah in connection with illegal allotment of land, until January 28.

The ex-chief minister moved a plea through his counsel Barrister Zamir Ghumro pleaded to restrain National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting him.

A division bench headed by Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro heard arguments from the petitioner’s side.

Advocate Ghumro submitted that ex-CM has received a call up notice issued by NAB for the allotment of land to Malir Development Authority (MDA).

He stated that the land was granted to the MDA under a policy for incremental housing as per law; the same has been done with other government’s development authorities, the provincial government had also granted lands to Karachi Development Authority, Lyari Development Authority and Sehwan Development Authority as well as Hyderabad Development Authority on the rates fixed by government.

The counsel contended that his client had exercised his constitutional powers in good faith and for the interest of the people. He added that his client had never been involved in illegal practices or misused of his powers. “Ex CM had never granted any piece of land to any private organization, the NAB’s call up notice was illegal and unconstitutional” he said.

The lawyer has also mentioned that the serving Chief Minister has authority to exercise his power by allotting piece of land for the welfare of the people under section 10A of the colonisation & disposal of government lands act.

The provincial government review the value rates of the land and fixe the rates through notification after every three years as per market value.

He argued that the NAB is investigating the exchange of land by MDA, the said authority had paid full amount of the land to Sindh government as per notified rates and for ex CM had no connection with subsidiary matters.

The applicant’s lawyer also submitted that the ex CM had granted land to MDA and other entities under a government policy, and if any entity has used or exchanged the land under their own laws his client had never approved or sanctions such transactions.

He pleaded the court to nullify the NAB’s call up notice and to restrain it to arrest or harass his client.

The court granted his protective bail against the surety of Rs one million and issued notices to the NAB and other respondents.