SC turns down Bahria Town’s offer to pay Rs358bn to regularise Karachi land

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday turned down Bahria Town’s offer to pay Rs358 billion to regluarise the land on which its Karachi projects are located.

A three-member implementation bench was conducting proceedings of the Bahria Town case when Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh termed Bahria Town’s offer to pay Rs358 billion to regularise all of its Karachi land as ‘unsatisfactory’.

The implementation bench had been formed after the Supreme Court had ruled in its landmark May 14, 2018 judgment in which it barred Bahria Town from selling and buying plots.

The judgment had stated that the land granted to Malir Development Authority (MDA) and its swap with Bahria Town was illegal. It had told NAB to probe the developer and inquire about his business practices.

“In 2014, the court had set Rs225bn as the amount to be paid in order to legalise 7,000 acres of land. If one marks that up by 40 per cent [to account for inflation, other factors], the number comes up to Rs315b,” said Justice Azmat.

Bahria Town’s defence counsel Ali Zafar said that his client was ready to pay Rs315bn for the regularisation of all 16,896 acres of land. He said that they could not pay more than Rs350 billion.

“Rs315b is the price [Bahria Town should pay] for just 7,068 acres of land,” the judge noted, comparing Bahria Town’s settlement offer for all 16,896 acres of land, to the amount the Supreme Court had fined it (Rs225bn) for possessing 7,000 acres in 2014.

“We are not arguing with you over the prices of tomatoes here,” remarked Justice Azmat angrily.
Ali Zafar then told the court that his client could pay Rs358 billion and that was the final settlement offer.

The court told him that it would rule on the matter only after hearing NAB, the federal and Sindh governments.

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