Court restricts Punjab’s caretaker govt to hand over state lands to Pakistan Army for farming

LAHORE – Lahore High Court has barred the Lands Directorate department of the Punjab government from handing over vast lands to the Pakistan Army for corporate agriculture farming.

The court order comes days after GHQ Land Directorate wrote a letter to Punjab chief secretary, Board of Revenue and agriculture, forest, livestock, and irrigation departments secretaries for allotting 42,724 acres in Kaloor Kot and Mankera tehsils in Bhakkar, 1,818 acres in Quaidabad and Khushab tehsils in Khushab, and 725 acres in Chichawatni tehsil of Sahiwal.

Judge Abid Chattha of Lahore High Court announced his verdict on plea filed by Ahmad Rafay Alam, remarking that points raised by the petitioner need consideration, directing respondents to submit a response.

The court maintained that the caretaker government cannot take major policy decisions and also declare the Feb 20 notification as illegal, null, and void. Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman is not vested with any power to sanction the said notification, the verdict reads.

In his petition, Alam maintained that constitutional mandate not allowed for Corporate Agriculture Farming.

Earlier, Pakistan Army got vast lands in “joint venture” aimed at increasing the crop yield and ensuring food security. “The army will play a role at the management level to make the project a success story. However, ownership of the land will continue to stay with the provincial government. The military will not get any profit or share in the revenue to be mopped from corporate agriculture farming,” per reports.

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