An embattled Bahria Town administration came out with some new ammunition on Monday, pleading that the Supreme Court should not be hearing cases against it – ironically basing its new prayer on a recent judgment given by the apex court itself in the controversial Dr Arsalan Iftikhar case.
In a reply submitted to the court in the case pertaining to the murder of a security guard in relation to an alleged land-grabbing case, Bahria Town’s administration pointed out that in the Dr Arsalan case, which dealt with alleged bribes taken by the chief justice’s son from the family of real estate tycoon, the court had stated that matters of such nature should be taken up by a “competent trial court”.
Bahria Town pleaded that “the Honourable Supreme Court is not a trial court, which can decide the civil disputes between private parties” and also pointed out that the real estate company has already submitted that all claims against it are actually “civil disputes” and should hence be decided by a “civil court.” Taking its argument a step further, it was also argued that if Bahria Town property disputes are to be taken up by the apex court, then all such disputes should be dropped from civil courts and taken up by the Supreme Court.
The real estate company further prayed that it had not been given a “proper trial” – which, it was argued, could only take place in a civil court “after the recording of evidence and a decision taken on merits.” The right to such a trial, contended Bahria Town, has been enshrined in the Constitution under Article 10-A – which was also stated by the Supreme Court in its “landmark” judgment in the Dr Arsalan case.
Bahria Town, the largest land development company in the country, and its former chairman Malik Riaz have a number of cases being heard against them in the Supreme Court for over three years now. It was pointed out that the Dr Arsalan case had been referred to the competent authority “within 4 days” – and Bahria Town has prayed to get similar treatment from the court.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2012.