Bahria Town: The cost of land possession

News Analysis

On early Wednesday morning, just a day before the formal hearing between the Bahria Town representatives and the Supreme Court (SC), a sum amounting to Rs. 485 billion ($3.5 billion) was presented to the SC bench.

The proposed total of Rs. 485 billion would act as a full and final payment/settlement from Bahria Town regarding the three ongoing cases from Malir, Rawalpindi and Murree.

The sum is to be consolidated between the concerned regions for the completion of other projects. Out of the Rs. 485 billion, Rs. 440 billion would be allocated to the 16,000-acre Malir project or the Karachi Superhighway Project, Rs. 22 billion would be given for the Takht Pari Rakh Forest in Rawalpindi, while the remaining Rs. 23 billion would be allocated for the 4,542 kanals of Sulkhtar and Mangla Land.

The counsel for Bahria Town, Barrister Ali Zafar, said that they [Bahria Town] were ready to make these payments for these regions.

The counsel also asked the court to allow the payments to be made on a monthly basis for Rs. 420 billion, over the next 8 years. An average of Rs. 2 billion per month for the first 5 years and an average of Rs. 8.33 billion per month for the last 3 years.

In a hearing which took place on March 6th, the Bahria Town representatives made an offer of a final settlement for all three projects amounting to Rs. 479.59 billion.

The three-member implementation bench for the Bahria Town case is headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, who has asked Bahria Town to review the offer and inform the bench by March 13.

Malir Project

The project was announced over 20 years ago and was aimed at providing housing opportunities, primarily for the low to middle-income group of the country.

The project was to be headed by the Malir Development Authority (MDA), which sought to construct houses on the National Highway, however, the entire project has been embroiled in cases of mismanagement, land possession, financial turmoil and complications with Bahria Town.

MDA was successful in raising financing the project, however, the development work has been completely unacceptable. Basic facilities such as schools, colleges, mosques and hospitals have not been provided.

If though, it had been looked after responsibly and with due consideration to the benefit that it was trying to provide the lower class of the society, it would have proved to be a key factor in societal development and the betterment of living standards.

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