ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Punjab government to file its comments till June 9 on the issue of compulsory acquisition of land in village Salkhaiter in favour of a private housing company.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar is hearing a suo moto case regarding acquisition of land of picturesque Salkhaiter village by Bahria Town.

Residents of the village had lodged a complaint with the court, alleging that the revenue authorities were forcibly acquiring land in the village, about 15 kilometers from Rawal Dam, for the development of Bahria Golf City.

Senator Dr Babar Awan, counsel for the complainants while appearing before the court asked the apex court to ascertain through the new incumbent government whether it was in favor of forcibly acquiring the lands of poor people, as he said, the Punjab government has not yet submitted its statement before the court in this regard.

The counsel requested the court to summon Chief Secretary Punjab. However S.M Zafar, counsel for Bahria Town, told the court that neither there was any need to summon Chief Secretary Punjab nor the government of Punjab was a necessary party to the case. He submitted that the court could argue on the basis of their documents.

Babar Awan, however, requested the court to summon Advocate General Punjab in order to know whether the government of Punjab is supporting the victims. At this the court observed that it was an important case and directed the Government of Punjab to file its comments till June 9, and adjourned the case.

Earlier the Supreme Court had stopped the Punjab government from acquiring land for the Bahria Town in the foothills of Murree. Salkhaiter is home to over 250 families who live in about 1,000 houses.

Source: The News