Things are heating up for Bahria Town. On July 14, a single-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) vacated Bahria Town’s stay on Lahore Ring Road (LRR)’s eight-kilometre Southern Loop-III (SL-III), according to news sources. Yesterday, this verdict was overturned by a two-member bench on Bahria Town’s request.
Bahria Town’s stance is that the land for LRR’s SL-III has been acquired in an illegal manner, which affects the lives of 300 families whose property falls on this route. The two-member bench instructed the Punjab Government to submit an answer by July 24.
The development giant petitioned the LHC in January last year. It pleaded that the new route was passing through land that it legally owns. The Punjab government on the other hand responded that the route was finalised in 2008 – Bahria Town began developing after this and not before.
The Punjab Government’s council also claimed that the road’s final route was in the developer’s notice. According to him, the construction done by Bahria Town is also illegal because the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) did not issue approvals for its scheme or map.
Subject to the court’s decision, LRR’s SL-III could be completed in five to six months. Commenting on the single-member bench’s ruling given on July 14, Bahria Town’s counsel said that the decision was given without hearing their arguments. He also said that Bahria Town planned to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Bahria Town reportedly purchased around 656 kanals of land, which the Punjab Government intended to acquire for LRR’s SL-III. Not just this, the government’s council also claimed that the developer knew that there were chances of the land being compromised due to LRR’s expansion. According to news sources, around 71 houses and a total of seven plazas fall in the LRR’s route, for which the Punjab government issued a two-day evacuation deadline on Friday.
Bahria Town CEO Malik Riaz’s in a statement said that he will not let his society, or those who own property there, face any compromising situation. According to our sources, Bahria Town has bought back property from investors on the market rates, and promised plot owners alternate plots in the society.
Now the question is about meeting the loss that Bahria Town is expected to face because of the units that were already built in the area. According to a news source, Bahria Town also recently participated in bidding for LRR’s southern loop.
With the new ruling, the Punjab government cannot carry out any operation against the already constructed property lying in LRR’s route. However, this is not the end of the case and it will continue to twist and turn in the future as well. The Punjab government planned to inaugurate the new route by August this year, but it remains to be seen if this will be the case.