We all know fully well how notorious Pakistani Army is in grabbing land at the drop of a hat that it can be gauged from this that it always indulged in committing worst form of terrible atrocities in its soil without any compunctions whatsoever and also wantonly and brazenly indulging in worst form of land grabbing just like mafias do whenever they find it convenient to do so. It is certainly by any reckoning not a professional and disciplined army committed totally for the welfare and upliftment of the people. It has a very poor track record of always wielding huge discretionary power to benefit their own kith ànd kin. This alone explains why there was revolt in Bangladesh then called East Pakistan in 1971 which formed till then an inalienable part of Pakistan but then with India’s help fought their sacred aim of attaining independence as the people there were fed up of misrule and tyranny committed by the ‘ruthless and arrogant’ Pakistani Army.
What an unbeatable irony that 50 years later, we still see no change in the Pakistani Army dictatorial approach and it seems that the only lesson that the Pakistani Army has learnt from history is that it has not learnt any lesson till now! This definitely does not forebode well for Pakistan where people especially in Balochistan, Sindh and Karachi are most frustrated and yearning to separate from Pakistan due to huge atrocities committed by heartless Pakistani Army. It is this same Pakistani Army which has nurtured and patronized most dreaded criminal mafias and dubious land grabbers like Dawood Ibrahim who is an Indian fugitive and so also Shabir Ibrahim Kaskar and Chhota Shakeel who are all running this dirty business racket based in Karachi with full patronage from Pakistani army!
Needless to state, this alone explains why while slamming
Pakistan’ s army, Lahore High Court has come down heavily raining on the force calling it the “biggest land grabber” of Pakistan. We all saw how just recently the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan lashed out strongly at the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) for its neck deep involvement in “illegal” occupation of lands and regretted that the Army seemed to have become the “biggest land grabber”. It must be mentioned here that the Chief Justice was hearing petitions of three citizens seeking an order against the DHA to not disturb their lawful possession of the land that they had obtained on lease from the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB). It must be mentioned here that the Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan deeply regretted that the Army had also grabbed a piece of land measuring 50-kanal which was owned by the Lahore High Court. Such is the sheer audacity of Army in Pakistan that it does not care a damn even for the Lahore High Court itself also!
While elaborating further, the Chief Justice Qasim Khan said explicitly that he would instruct the Lahore High Court Registrar to write a letter to the Chief of the Army Staff in this regard. He was at pains to point out that the Bar also remained indifferent to the issue. The ostensible reason for it is: No one wants to ruffle feathers of Pakistani Army under any circumstance as it is most notorius for crushing dissent with an iron hand!
Furthermore, the DHA’s counsel Altafur Rehman Khan feigned his ignorance about the occupation of the Lahore High Court’s land. At this, the Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan made it amply clear that the Corps Commander of Lahore could be summoned to verify the fact. This itself ostensibly shows that there is strong force in what the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan said.
While mincing no words whatsoever to clearly specify Army’s role, the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court observed unequivocally that the uniform of the army was for service and not to rule as a king. We have seen how in Pakistan time and again Army Generals like Yahya Khan, Zia ul Haq, Pervez Musharraf among others have ruled with huge powers but no limitations of any kind. Most unfortunately, Pakistan’s Army right since 1947 till 2021 has been ruling Pakistan like “an emperor with all powers but no responsibilities” which alone explains why it split in 1971 and if things are not controlled well in time then that day is certainly not far when Pakistan will be staring at another split as people of Sindh, Balochistan, PoK and many other regions are totally fed up of the complete unfettered tyranny and misrule of Pakistani Army interested just in grabbing of land illegally to the maximum possible extent.
To be sure, the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court referred to above said confidently that he did not say anything wrong about the Army and Almighty Allah made him speak the truth. He also pulled back no punches to state unequivocally that, “The way the Army occupies the properties of people is nothing but land grabbing.” No doubt, the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court has to be applauded unambiguously for summoning the courage to speak out against the misdeeds of the Pakistani Army!
As we see, advocate Asif Imran Awan who is the counsel for the petitioners pointed out that no reply had been submitted to the petitions as the respondent/DHA belonged to the Army. Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Khan maintained that no one had ever dared to refuse filing a reply in his court during his 11-year stay in the Lahore High Court. He asked the counsel for the housing authority that, “Do they appoint serving or retired army officers in the DHA?” The counsel said that retired officers of the Army worked in the DHA. However, he said that DHA administrator Brig Waheed Gul Satti was a serving officer.
What’s more, the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court then directed the DHA’s counsel to make the administrator appear before the court immediately. The Chief Justice also directed a provincial law officer to ensure the appearance of the Lahore police chief before the court. Chief Justice Khan then also said to the law officer that, “If CCPO feels any fear, ask him to send his IG instead.”
Going ahead, CCPO Ghulam Mahmood Dogar appeared before the court as the Chief Justice resumed hearing after a break. However, the DHA’s counsel informed the court that Brig Satti was in Islamabad for his appearance before the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice then directed the counsel to make the DHA administrator appear before the Lahore High Court along with complete record.
Without mincing any words, Chief Justice Khan also asked the CCPO to better leave the job if he could not take any action against the illegal occupations by the DHA. He ordered the police officer to lodge an FIR if he received any application against the DHA. The Chief Justice observed that the Army had an attractive post-retirement welfare plan for its officers, which other institutions like police and judiciary lacked. This is all because Pakistani Army calls the shots in all crucial matters.
To put things in perspective, the Chief Justice very rightly posed a query that, “Is it only the army that makes sacrifices? Do other institutions like police, lawyers and judges not make sacrifices?” It is really good to see that the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court summoned the unfettered courage to speak out against the unilateral dominance of Army in Pakistan and it’s misdeeds in grabbing lands like mafias! It goes without saying that the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court referred to hereinabove has exposed the real face of the Pakistani Army!
Needless to state, the petitioners Zeeshan Mehboob, Rakeel Tufail and Zulfiqar Hussain had got different chunks of land allotted to three-year lease from the ETPB for cultivation purposes in Mota Singhwala, Lidhar and Dera Chahal Mauzas near Bedian Road, Lahore. A counsel for the ETPB also told the court that the petitioners were the lawful owners of the land in question. So they had a legitimate claim on the land in question!
It is a no-brainer and we all know too very well that the Army which has ruled Pakistan with an iron vice-like grip for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence and had earlier gained considerable power in several matters of security and foreign policy has enjoyed unquestionable supremacy in calling the shots everywhere! This latest judgment by Lahore High Court in April is definitely a rare rebuke of Pakistan’s powerful Army! Of course, the true monstrous face of the Pakistani Army has now this been manifestly exposed by the Lahore High Court for all of us to see for ourselves. How long will Pakistani Army deny this unpalatable truth laid bare by Lahore High Court?
What a crowning irony that Pakistani Army is just interested in minting money, grabbing huge tracts of land and even using notorious criminal mafias like Dawood among others, dreaded terror groups and terror leaders like Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and Syed Salaluddin among others to indulge in more and more such land grabbing mercilessly by employing muscle power and gun power among others this caring two hoots for the people at large for whose welfare and safety they exist. The writing is thus now clear on the wall. There is nothing more to add to it.
It would certainly not be wrong to say that Pakistan is not a country with an army but an army with a country! Today, the Pakistan armed forces run at least 50 commercial entities including banks, bakeries, petrol pumps, schools, universities, food processing units, milk dairies, cement plants, insurance companies and even restaurants and wedding halls! These businesses are operated under five foundations, namely the Fauji Foundation, Army Welfare Trust, Shaheen Foundation and the Defence Housing Authority – the one involved in the current land grab case. We all know how in 2017 former Pakistani Army General Raheel Sharif was allotted 90 acres of land for agriculture in Lahore without any explanation. All attempts to find out the reason we’re labelled as treason. Earlier also we saw how in 2010 an Army Battalion grabbed wrongly 3500 acres of land in Karachi which included a centuries old graveyard too.
It must be mentioned here that the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court revealed that the Lahore High Court had itself been a victim of the Army’s notorious land grab. The Judge said that, “The DHA has also illegally occupied 50 kanals of the Lahore High Court and I will have an FIR lodged against the DHA. Everyone is equal before the law. Men in uniform cannot escape their crimes.” Men in uniform in Pakistan must understand what Lahore High Court has held so damningly against the way of functioning of Pakistani Army! They better understand!
It shall be in their own best interest!
It is high time and Pakistan Army must also now mend its ways and start behaving like professional army just like we see in India and stop backing criminal mafias indulging in land grabbing and so also terror groups as it can still be blacklisted by FATF! It can afford to ignore what Lahore High Court has held at its own peril! It must learn a lot from Indian Army! It shall be in its own best interest!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate