Land encroachment case: PHC serves notice on chief secy, Malakand varsity VC
PESHAWAR, Aug 23: A Peshawar High
Court (PHC) division bench on Wednesday served a notice on the NWFP chief
secretary and University of Malakand (UoM) vice-chancellor in a
Admitting a writ petition by the NWFP Forest
Development Corporation (FDC) for a preliminary hearing, the bench comprising
Justice Muhammad Qaim Jan Khan and Justice Hamid Farooq Durrani directed both
the respondents to submit their replies at the next hearing.
petitioner said the NWFP FDC was a statutory body created under the NWFP
Ordinance No-II of 1980, having a separate legal corporate personality with
powers to acquire, hold and dispose a property.
On December 9, 1981, a
high-level meeting was held in pursuance to the decision of the Executive
Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for steps to be taken for
mechanisation and industrialisation of forestry in the Frontier province.
"Accordingly, it was decided that Dir Forest Complex Industries,
concerns of the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), having its
units in Dir and Swat, along with its assets were to be transferred from PIDC to
the petitioner," the petitioner said, adding that the transferred assets
included an area of 50.8 acres at Sheringal, Dir. The petitioner also claimed to
have paid sale consideration for the said transfer. Further, the petitioner said
that on September 9, 2001, the NWFP governor received a request from the NWFP
science, technology and information adviser on behalf of the University of
Malakand for the transfer of property to establish a research centre. The
initial request was made for 35 acres.
The petitioner declined to offer
the property when the NWFP Environment Department sought comments, saying that
the same was being used by it for its own multifarious activities and essential
requirements. "However, the governor, without considering the clear objections
of the petitioner, ordered transfer of the property to the University of
Malakand for the establishment of the research centre," the petitioner added.
On February 15, 2002, the board of the corporation took up the issue and
decided to prepare a self-contained summary for the governor for the review of
The corporation alleged that the University of Malakand,
instead of establishing the research centre at the transferred part of the
property, utilised the land to open a school named University Public School.
"To add insult to injury, the university leased the illegally occupied
part of the property to private persons on rent," the petitioner alleged.
On August 3, 2005, the University Public School principal led his
students and forcibly took over part of the corporation. The district
administration remained a silent spectator to all this trespassing and
encroachment, the petitioner said.
Finally, on January 5, 2006, the NWFP
chief minister approved the proposal of the Environment Department, which
states, "For management purposes, the area comprising the log-yard (depot) and
machinery store will be retained by the FDC." But despite clear directives of
the NWFP government, the university did not agree to comply with the terms, the
In interim relief, petitioner's counsel Yahya Afridi
requested the court to direct the respondents not to "illegally" encroach on
further property of his client, as well as to order the Upper Dir district
government, district revenue officer and district police officer to ensure the
safety of person and property of the petitioner until a final decision on the
petition. Daily times