Court: status of military lands cannot be changed
The Supreme Court has said that defence institutions are not supposed to be running businesses and operating cinemas, and prima facie, the status of land allotted for defence purposes cannot be changed.
The top court was hearing a case on the commercial use of military land on Wednesday.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who was hearing cases at the Supreme Court Karachi Registry, said that defence institutions have started profit-making businesses on strategic lands. Cinemas and wedding halls are being opened and run on these lands and commercial plazas are being built there.
The court asked the Defence Secretary to appear before the court with a report about this use of land.
The court was hearing a case of the commercial use of land which was otherwise set aside for defence purposes.
“What are you people building in DHA Phase I?” Justice Gulzar asked the Directory of Military Land & Cantonments.
This seems to be your modus operandi, he said. Build a huge wall and no one would know what’s going on inside.
The court said that commercial plazas and wedding halls have been constructed inside Faisal cantonment. There are wedding halls and a cinema operating in the COD (Central Ordinance Depot).
Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that defence institutions are not supposed to run businesses and operate cinemas.
The court said that the Navy is doing the same thing. They have established a housing society in Gizri. Tomorrow they’ll start a housing society inside Masroor Base, they said.
During the hearing, the petitioner told the court that a wall has been built opposite Millennium Mall at the start of Gulistan-e-Jauhar and it is being used for marketing. Another wall has been built along Nueplex Cinema where commercial activities take place.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan told the ML&C director to take notice of this and come up with a report on Thursday.
“Advocate General sahib, this is total collapse,” said the chief justice. Land allotted for defence is being commercialised,
The status of land allotted for defence purposes cannot be changed, the court observed.
It issued notices to the Attorney General, Advocate General and heads of all the cantonments. The Secretary of Defence has been ordered to appear with a report.