Defense Land Trade Center: How the Pak Army Abused Land for Commercial Purposes, South Asia News
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ruled heavily on the country’s military establishment, pointing out that defense land is being misused for commercial purposes.
The panel of three judges belonging to the highest court in the country was seized of a case relating to the illegal use of cantonment council lands in Karachi.
The case concerns the construction of Falcon Shopping Center in Karachi in 2016. The land is under the jurisdiction of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). The mall was not open to the public.
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Reports claim that Pakistan Air Force allegedly changed the structure that was originally built for the mall to a war institute, according to images on social media.
PAF is building a mall on what is supposed to be an Air Force base, calling it “Falcon Mall”.
The Supreme Court says to make the land that you are not using for military purposes active.
The PAF labels the mall the “University Institute of Air Warfare”. pic.twitter.com/36aG9hsF68
– Abdul Moiz Jaferii (@Jaferii) December 21, 2021
The chief justice had ordered the country’s defense secretary to appear in court to answer questions related to the case.
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Retired Lieutenant-General Mian Hilal Hussain was questioned by the Supreme Court. Hussain, who is currently the Secretary of Defense, assured the court that the cantonment lands would not be used for commercial purposes.
The chief justice noted that cantonment lands across the country were being misused, including that three bases allegedly intended for the Pakistan Air Force were being used for commercial purposes. In addition, wedding halls and hotels are said to have been built in what is believed to be a naval base.
The court noted that the Canteen Stores Department (CSD) was in the process of being converted into an “open commercial department store”. The court convicted Hussain of the alleged abuse and asked the government to file a report on the cantonment lands that were being used illegally for commercial purposes.
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The country’s attorney general, Khalid Jawed Khan, informed the court that a committee made up of three department heads had been set up to investigate the land violations. The court called the use of the land an “embarrassment” issue.
The country’s supreme court reportedly pointed out that army officials bought and sold land which was then used by individuals to build houses without any sign of a “garrison” located on land intended for the defense forces.
(With contributions from the Agencies)