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SC fixes Pakpattan shrine land transfer hearing on May 15

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed the Pakpattan shrine land case against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for hearing on May 15.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Atta Bandial will hear the case in Islamabad. Other members of the bench are Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Munib Akhtar.

The court issued notices to Sharif, the attorney general and others to appear in person or through their lawyers for the hearing of the case.

It is noteworthy that a joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to probe the Pakpattan shrine land case against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif had held him responsible for “illegally transferring” shrine land when he was the chief minister of Punjab in 1985.

Last year, on Dec 13, the top court constituted a JIT to probe the illegal transfer of 14,394 kanals of land  belonging to the Auqaf department in Pakpattan district.

The PML-N supremo had earlier appeared before an apex court bench headed by then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar in the case.

The bench while referring to the former PM had asked: “Did you de-notify the Auqaf Department’s property?” Sharif responded: “The case dates back to 32 years and as per my record, I have taken no such decision [to hand over shrine property to anyone]”.

“The property belonged to the Auqaf Department, but some people who claimed to be its real owners approached the district judge,” said the then chief justice.

The bench suggested formation of the JIT if the case required further probe.

Mr Sharif responded, saying: “You can form some other body instead of the joint investigation team… it doesn’t feel good to see the mention of the JIT”

Justice Nisar asked the former PM to decide himself what should be done in the case. ‘After all, meting out justice is not only judiciary’s job,’ he added.

The bench was informed that 8,000 kanal land of the Pakpattan shrine belonging to the Auqaf department was sold as per a 1985 order. “However, later the Auqaf department declared it a charitable endowment and a court judgment has also been passed in this regard,” the counsel informed the court.

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