Nawaz illegally transferred Pakpattan shrine land: inquiry report

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed that then chief minister of Punjab Nawaz Sharif illegally transferred land of the Pakpattan shrine in 1985.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a case pertaining to the transfer of 14,000 kanals of land of the Pakpattan shrine to Dewan Ghulam Qutab in 1985. Nawaz was the then-chief minister of Punjab province when the land in question was transferred.

As the hearing went under way, Dr Hussain Asghar, the head of the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe to the case, submitted an inquiry report.

The inquiry report stated that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was then-chief minister of Punjab province, had illegally transferred the land. “The first inquiry report submitted in 2015 held the then-chief minister responsible, however, in 2016 another report was prepared and the then provincial chief minister’s name was removed from it,” the JIT head informed the court.

At this, the chief justice remarked, “That time is now over. A third report will not be prepared.”

Dr Asghar further told the bench, “The land of Hujra Shah Muqeem and Hafiz Jamal shrine were also transferred by Nawaz during the same tenure.”

Justice Nisar added, “The lands of these shrines were allotted in 1986.” The chief justice then asked, “Under which law did then chief minister Punjab take back the notification for the land which was donated? How was property that was donated sold?”

Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked, “District judge and the high court had ordered that the notification of the donated land cannot be withdrawn. Then under which law was the notification withdrawn?”

In reponse, Nawaz’s counsel, Munawar Dogal, said, “My client earlier denied withdrawing the notification.”

To this, the chief justice report, “The inquiry report has come.” Addressing Nawaz’s counsel, the top judge said, “Don’t try be overly loyal.”

Further, the chief justice remarked, “What if we consider asking the anti-corruption department to file a case. If an investigation is conducted then no one will be spared.”

Dr Asghar further said, “Then secretary to the chief minister admitted that the notification was withdrawn on the chief minister’s directives.”

“Nawaz’s former secretary has also been investigated. He’s 75 years old,” he added.

The court then directed Nawaz and Punjab government to submit replies to the inquiry report within two weeks and adjourned the hearing of the case.

On December 27, Justice Nisar named Director-General Anti-Corruption Punjab Dr Hussain Asghar as the new head of the JIT. A three-judge bench headed by the chief justice had constituted the JIT during hearing of the suo motu case on December 13.