News Desk |
The Supreme Court on Thursday, 21st March accepted the troubled Bahria Town Karachi’s Rs. 460 billion plea bargain offer in the land swap case with the Malir Development authority initiated by the former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to step back from filing references against the private society.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 13th March, had reserved its verdict in the negotiation against Bahria Town (Pvt) Ltd after the CEO Malik Riaz raised his offer to Rs450 billion.
At the onset of the case last week, the counsel for Bahria Town offered to pay Rs2.25bn per month for the next five years. The rest of the amount will be paid in the next three years, he had said.
The protesting employees had said that thousands of Bahria Town employees had not been given their salaries for the last six months (June – December 2018) and overtime for the last four months (September -December ’18).
The real estate mogul also agreed to pay Rs20bn as down payment and 30 percent of the installments, whereas parks, zoo and a cinema had been offered as a guarantee. The Supreme Court raised the amount, that is to be paid by Bahria Town Karachi, to Rs460bn.
As per the settlement verdict, Bahria Town Karachi will have to pay the entire amount over the next seven years. In gavel banged today, the Supreme court ordered Bahria Town Karachi to pay 30 percent of the amount by August 2019. From September onwards, it will have to deposit monthly installments of Rs2.25bn to the national exchequer for the next three years. If Bahria town fails to deposit two instalments, Bahria Town Karachi will be considered a defaulter.
After the full amount is paid, the land will be transferred to Bahria town, making it, by extension, the most expensive piece of land sold in Sindh.
Read more: Malik Riaz free of charges
Since the initiation of the case in 2018, Bahria town had withheld salaries of its employees, payments to contractors and amenities to residents. In December 2018, employees, residents, property owners, and other customers of Bahria Town in Karachi protested at various places in the city. They were protesting against non-payment of salaries and hardships that were caused because of the Supreme Court decisions on Bahria town Karachi.
The main protest started from the main gate of Bahria Town on Indus Super Highway, but additional protests were also reported from at least two other points in the city. Protesters, appearing on TV screens, had also demanded the media to end negative propaganda against the Bahria housing schemes and to tell public that how much positive work had been done by the Bahria schemes.
The protesting employees had said that thousands of Bahria Town employees had not been given their salaries for the last six months (June – December 2018) and overtime for the last four months (September -December ’18). They had been joined by residents of Bahria town Karachi, property dealers and people who had bought housing plots in Bahria Town Karachi.
Read more: Bahria Town case: What is the crime of common citizens?
Residents, home and plot owners, and property dealers pointed out that most investments in Bahria towns – if not all – now don’t belong to Bahria or Malik Riaz but to “third parties” who had been investing for the past two decades. And it is these common citizens who were suffering as a result of these government and court actions.