SC bars Pakistan Railways from selling its land

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court barred the Pakistan Railways from selling its land in the federation and provinces and wrapped up the case pertaining to railways land.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid appeared before the court as a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case pertaining to railways land.

As the hearing went under way, the chief justice observed, “The Supreme Court has imposed a ban on the sale of railways land. Railways land is the property of the federation and the department can lease it but not sell it.”

Justice Nisar said, “Provinces can lease railways’ land but cannot sell it. However, this does not mean that the land be leased out for 99 years.”

At this, the railways minister said, “We are not even selling a single square yard of land. Some land has been leased for three to five years.”

“Railways department is earning Rs3 billion annually through its land. If leases are cancelled, then railways department will suffer losses,” Rashid added.

Barring the Pakistan Railways from selling its land in the federation and provinces, the bench remarked, “The land which is in use by the railways cannot be sold. Land in the jurisdiction of the Centre or provinces cannot be leased out for more than five years.”

“Land which is not required for railways’ operations can be leased for a period of five years,” the bench further stated. “Pakistan Railways does not have the permission to construct any housing society,” it added.

Ordering that Pakistan Railways does not allow any encroachments on its land, the bench stated, “The interim order on the Royal Palm Club case will be in place and the company Ferguson has been given administrative control of it.”

“We are separating the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club case from this matter and will hear it separately,” the bench said and disposed off this case.