KARACHI  -  PTCL has said that its properties located at Malir Halt in Karachi, just off Shahrah-e-Faisal, are under threat from the land grabbers who are using different tactics to deprive the company of its rightful ownership.

While speaking to the media, Syed Mazhar Hussain, Chief Human Resource Officer, PTCL said that the land is owned and managed by PTCL since its beginning and it is mentioned in the records that the land under dispute was the property of the Telephone & Telegraph Department, which preceded the establishment of PTCL, and was in its possession since the 50s. When PTCL was incorporated by the Government of Pakistan under the Pakistan Telecommunication Act, 1996, in pursuance of Section 35 of the Act, it was transferred all properties, rights and liabilities and was given the authority to own, manage and control its assets. He said that it was in the late 50s and 60s that PTCL’s predecessor organization had acquired land in Malir for the establishment of Telecommunications and Training facilities. A residential colony was also established for the staff working at the facilities. For many years, the properties remained under the peaceful possession of the Telecommunication authorities. He informed the media that in 2013, a person called Murtaza Khoso, who was backed by influential persons of Sindh, approached the Sindh Civil Administration through an application and claimed that the land located in front of the Pakistan Printing Press belongs to him and not to PTCL which was occupying it. He was subsequently able to unlawfully occupy some 10 acres of the said land. He employed over 100 persons to build a boundary wall around the encroached land. Hussain informed the media that later the federal government and some diplomatic channels intervened and the Sindh Civil Administration was forced to issue orders that the land should be vacated by the encroachers, namely Murtaza Khoso and the people backing him, since it was the rightful property of PTCL. For its part, PTCL also submitted an application to the Sindh High Court and won an order of status quo in its favour. It was revealed during the media briefing that, in December 2017, the same land mafia was again encouraged by influential persons and their lackeys to violate the Sindh High Court status quo order and encroach the Duct Factory which PTCL had built on the land. The boundary wall of the Duct Factory was demolished by the land grabbers while the PTCL security guards and other staff were severely manhandled. The PTCL equipment stored at the premises was also destroyed. The media was informed that Murtaza Khoso again approached the authorities to have the land vacated by PTCL so that he could take its possession. He also instructed his staff to build another boundary wall on the premises under his instructions. Hussain that that despite the lapse of many years, no action has been taken against the Sindh Revenue Department officials and they are still making attempts to violate the Sindh High Court status quo order with the connivance of influential persons. He said that PTCL, which has 62 percent government shares, is being unnecessarily drawn into a land dispute which is absolutely not based on facts.