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Business activities not the job of Govt: CJP

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday (26th January, 2023) remarked that this was an admitted fact in Pakistan and internationally that business activities were not the job of state institutions.

He said that any of the state institutions had to take permission from the Parliament before involving into business activities.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the case regarding the lease of Railways’ land.

The CJP remarked that the state institutions were facing losses because they were overburdened.

The top court also granted permission to Pakistan Railways to lease its land for public use.

However, it declared that the status of the lands couldn’t be changed after the lease.

The court also instructed the railways to get legislation regarding its lands from Parliament or the cabinet.

During the hearing, Pakistan Railways submitted the business plan of its land following the court directives.

Additional Attorney General Aamer Rehman said that the railways had a total of 169000 acres of land.

He said that 126000 acres land was being used for operational purposes while 16742 acres of land had been allocated for future planning.

The AAG said that 9070 acres of land was currently on lease while 6000 acres were not in any use. He said that after the ban of SC on land lease the profit worth Rs2.5 billion to the railways was stopped.

The CJP remarked that the railways had not submitted the details of its profit, expenditure and loss in its business plan.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked that cases worth billions of rupees of FBR were pending and there is zero progress in it.

Private parties used to get advantages due to no pursuance of cases and the country had to suffer huge financial losses, he said.

Justice Ahsan said that selling railways’ land to fill the losses was not a solution. The top court interfered into the matters only when the public interest is at risk, he said.

He further said that the railways had to be more careful in its business plan as it couldn’t ignore the facts of the market. There was a need to introduce an effective system in railways, he said.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail said that the railways should reduce its expenditures instead of doing business.

The CJP observed that the railways could plant forests on its 6000 acres of vacant land as it was also a good use of the land.

The chief justice said that there should be legal reason behind the railways’ planning.
The further hearing of the case was then adjourned till March.


M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.