QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court (BHC) asked the provincial government on Friday to explain how it can lease hundreds of acres of land to UAE nationals for bird hunting and restrained it from taking any further steps in this regard.

The orders were issued during the hearing of a petition filed by Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Aslam Bhootani. The case is being heard by Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that a public property measuring 500 acres, situated in Liari sub-tehsil of Lasbela district was to be leased out to some foreigners. The land in the area actually belongs to local residents but it was likely that the actual landowners would not be consulted in this regard.

He contended that the act of the respondents amounts to a negation of the right of the people as envisaged in the Constitution and said that they (the respondents) were misusing their powers.

After considering the petitioner’s point of view, the court ordered the government not to take any action until the next hearing, which was fixed for the first week of next month.

A few months ago, Bhootani had said at a press conference that overnight, a summary had been prepared at the Prime Minister’s House to give the land to foreigners on lease for hunting, adding that they (the foreigners) wanted to set up an airstrip and other private buildings on the land.

Talking to journalists, Bhootani termed the court verdict a success of the locals. “I will not allow the federal and provincial governments to usurp the rights of the people of my constituency. I will defend their constitutional rights.”

Bhootani said that allowing the air force to use their land did not in any way empower them to lease or sell the land to foreigners.
He categorically said that the land was allocated for the Hingol Dam Command Area to ensure a steady supply of water to the poor and improve their economic condition.

He urged the chief minister of Balochistan to revoke the decision of alloting the land to the UAE nationals.

Source: Express Tribune