Why is Pakistani military land used to build wedding halls, cinemas? Supreme Court asks Defense Secretary

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday grilled the Defense Secretary after the mighty army was found using “strategic and defense” land for business activities such as renting weddings and cinemas.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and including Judge Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Judge Ijazul Ahsan, considered the issue of military land used for commercial purposes at the Registry of the Supreme Court of Karachi.

The Dawn newspaper reported that the CJP questioned Defense Secretary Retired Lieutenant-General Mohammad Hilal Hussain about the commercial use of military land, asking whether structures such as “cinemas and theaters marriage “had been built for defense purposes.

“This land was given to you for strategic and defense purposes [purposes and yet] you started commercial activities there, “he said.” Were wedding halls, cinemas and housing companies built for defense purposes? “asked the chief justice. .

He pointed out that all of the Askari housing projects, commonly referred to as the Army Housing Scheme Defense, had been built on cantonment land.

“We have decided that this will not happen again,” the defense secretary said, adding that the construction of housing companies and the commercial use of military land would be monitored and stopped.

At this, Justice Amin asked Hussain how this would be made possible and where the process would begin.

The judge asked him to provide a written explanation.

The chief justice said colonels and majors act like kings. “What the colonels and majors desire is to happen,” he said.

“Go tell all the chefs [of the armed forces] that defense land will not be used for commercial purposes. Go to all the military cantonments and tell them that the land will only be used for strategic purposes, ”CJP Ahmed ordered the Secretary of Defense.

He also said that commercial activities were ongoing at Masroor base and Faisal base in Karachi and that buildings were erected when orders were given to remove the signs.

The bench asked Hussain if he had a written report on the case, which the secretary asked for more time to submit.

The court adjourned the hearing to November 30, stating that it would take place in Islamabad and also ordered that a written report be submitted.

When hearing the case on Wednesday, the chief justice said the conversion of cantonment land to private land appeared to be in direct violation of the Cantonment Act of 1924, the Land Cantonment Rules of 1937 and of various constitutional provisions and the matter had to be heard and decided by the court.

The judiciary had expressed resentment towards the director of cantonment and military grounds of the Karachi region, Adil Rafi Siddiqui, about such activities falling within the competence of the cantonment councils and had also asked him for a report on the construction of a wall on the premises of a Defense Housing Authority park. Phase-I, according to the Dawn newspaper.

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