LAHORE: After fighting legal battles for years, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) was finally able to get its share in the multi-billion rupees residential plots scandal of Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Lahore in exchange for its priced land, Bol News learnt on Thursday.
The ETPB land is located in Mauza Lidhar, Mauza Mota Singh Wala and Mauza Dera Chahal of Lahore and over the land that is DHA Phase VI and IX.
A senior ETPB official, speaking on anonymity, told Bol News that in its 340th meeting held on October 26 the board approved the offer of the DHA regarding taking over the possession of residential plots. It has now forwarded the matter to the federal government for final approval, he added.
“We have communicated to the federal government in writing about the DHA offer and decision of the board,” he said, adding, ETPB has asked the DHA Lahore for a joint demarcation to ascertain how much evacuee’s land was already in the authority’s possession.
“We have got 278 plots against the already mutated land of over 800 kanals in favor of DHA and now the process of mutation of the remaining 900 kanals would be started,” said the official.
The matter of around 1,700 Kanals land deal between DHA, Lahore, and ETPB was pending since 2007 where both the parties had agreed that the former would transfer residential plots, one Kanal each, at 33 per cent share of total developed residential plots to the latter.
Similarly, it was also agreed by DHA that as per their standard town planning, they would get 331 residential plots whereas 642 out of total 973 residential plots would go to the board. The DHA had been demanding development charges on the residential plots, amounting to approximately Rs900 million, besides Rs70-90 million per commercial plot from the ETPB.
However, the board in 2016 had unanimously approved that no development charges would be paid to DHA to get its due share in the residential plots in exchange for the land.
Talking to Bol News, another ETPB official said the matter of purchasing 100 commercial plots from DHA at the market rate was still a big sign of concern for the board.
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The official further said in 2018, a Supreme Court bench headed by then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had directed ETPB to pay price for the commercial plot at the “current market value”.
Talking to Bol News, Director Public Relations DHA Lahore Col Farooq Pirzada said he was away from the office till the weekend and would be able to share details on the matter by next week.
It may be relevant to mention here that, in 2007, the DHA Lahore had approached the Board to acquire its land, located in the Lahore Cantonment area through a deal when a retired Lieutenant General Zulfiqar Ali Khan was heading the board as its chairman.
Under the deal, DHA had to transfer residential plots.
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But during Syed Asif Hashmi’s tenure as ETPB chairman, the deal was revised at 25 per cent per share and subsequently approved by the board and the federal ministry on April 16, 2009, and May 8, 2009, respectively.
However, in 2011 the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the deal and a three-member bench headed by the then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry declared the land null and void and directed the DHA to accept the deal at 33 per cent of the share; otherwise, refund the land owned by the ETPB.
The DHA authorities accepted the Supreme Court judgment and decided to go ahead with the deal at 33 per cent share.