A Pakistani court has stopped the federal government from selling 28 acres of land belonging to a Gurdwara here to Defence Housing Authority (DHA).
Lahore High Court Justice Ayesha A Malik yesterday ordered the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) not to sell the land of the Gurdwara Bibi Nanki in Lahore Cantonment to the DHA.
A lawyer told the court that the Punjab government was retrieving the land from the DHA.
Sikh Welfare Council's representative Gulab Singh had filed a petition against the sale of the 230 kanals (28 acres) of land.
He said a huge portion of the land in Mota Singh village, Lahore Cantonment, was an evacuee trust property and attached to the Gurdwara.
Being the trust property it should be preserved, but the ETPB sold it to the DHA.
He said he had approached the ETPB with a request that the property should not be sold and be transferred to the Gurdwara for its expansion, but to no avail.
Singh said the ETBP was the custodian of the trust property and could not sell it except under exceptional circumstances.
He said the sale was in sheer violation of Evacuee Trust Property (Management) Act 1975.
Singh pointed out that the Supreme Court had taken a suo motu notice of the matter and a Lahore High Court bench also restrained the ETPB from selling the subject land.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been investigating the shoddy land deal between the ETBP and DHA.
The agency has registered a case against the former ETBP chairman Asif Hashmi and five others for their role in the land deal.
Hashmi has fled to London. The FIA has secured a Red Corner Notice from the Interpol against him.
"Since we have no extradition treaty with the UK we are facing problems to bring Hashmi back," FIA Director Lahore Usman Anwer told PTI.
He said he had written to the British authorities for a third-country extradition of Hashmi.
"We hope the British authorities will entertain our request," he said.