ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court was informed yesterday that the Sindh government had cancelled the lease agreement of entire 5,222-acres land in Thatta.

The top court took suo motu notice on September 2 and had sought reply from the Sindh government on the lease of thousands acres land to Arab individuals.

The Sindh additional advocate general submitted a report, on behalf of provincial chief secretary, before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, saying the government cancelled the lease granted in 1981.

The report said in 1980 a request was received from Emirates Sheep and Agriculture Farming for leasing out 10,000 acres land in District Thatta for establishing livestock and agriculture farms. The lease agreement was executed on September 13, 1981 at the rate of Rs 7 per acre per annum.

The report further said that on July 5, 1982, the lessee returned 4778 acres land but retained 5,222 acres for livestock and agriculture purposes.

“In 2009, the lessee again requested the then CM for extension of lease for another 30 years. The Land Utilization Department thoroughly examined the case, and with the approval of CM, the lease agreement was extended for a period of 30 years at the rate of Rs30 on same terms and conditions,” the report added.

It also stated that the lessee deposited Rs10,809,540 for 69 years, into proper head of account, while the remaining amount Rs4,699,800 for 30 year lease is to be recoverable from the lessee.

The report, however, revealed that on August 10, 2015 when Deputy Commissioner of Thatta visited leased-out land, measuring 5,222 acres, in Deh Khohistan Thatta, he found that the most of the land was uncultivated and only 150 sheep were there. It also came to the DC knowledge that the said land was leased out for a period 99 year to Naseer Abdullah Lootah for establishing sheep and agriculture farm.

The report mentioned that the DC noticed the lessee infringed the terms and condition of lease and failed to establish farms for livestock and to cultivate the land in accordance with the terms and conditions.

The DC submitted his report to the Sindh Land Utilisation Department, which after examining the report, took the matter to chief minister.

The competent authority accorded approval for the cancellation of land after review the 10 (5) b of the Colonization of Government Land Act 1912.

The chief secretary report concluded that on receiving approval from the CM, the Land Utilization Department on September 10 cancelled the entire 5222 acres land agreement with specific direction to the DC to cancel the entries in revenue record and recover the possession of the land.

The court adjourned the hearing till first week of October as Sindh additional advocate sought time for filing proper reply regarding the matter.