Defense Secretary wins Supreme Court wrath for commercial use of cantonment land


A file photo of Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed.
  • The Secretary of Defense is asking the Supreme Court for time to submit a written report.
  • “This land has been provided to you for strategic and defense purposes. You, on the other hand, are using it for business ventures,” the chief justice said.
  • “You have built wedding halls, cinemas and housing companies there,” notes the chief justice.

KARACHI: “We have decided not to allow the use of cantonment lands for commercial purposes in the future,” said Defense Secretary, retired Lieutenant-General Mian Hilal Hussain, summoned before a bench of the Supreme Court composed of three members. Gulzar Ahmed Friday.

The Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar, heard a case related to the conversion of cantonment land for private and commercial use.

A day earlier, the chief justice ordered the Secretary of Defense to appear in court to answer questions related to the case.

When asked to submit a written report on military land that had been converted for private or commercial use, the Secretary of Defense asked the court for some time to do so.

“You’ve been given land, but what are you using it for?” Judge Gulzar asked the Secretary of Defense.

“This land has been provided to you for strategic and defense purposes. You, on the other hand, use it for business ventures,” he noted.

“You have built wedding halls, cinemas and housing companies there,” added the chief justice.

“We have decided not to let this happen in the future,” the official said in response.

At this, the secretary was reprimanded by Judge Qazi Amin.

“What do you mean [by that]? All [commercial] activity [already occurring] on cantonment lands will also have to end, ”he added.

“You are sitting in Islamabad, how can you know anything about what is going on here [in Karachi]? “asked the Chief Justice.

“Go visit all the cantonment areas and notify them that the land will now only be used for strategic and defense purposes,” he ordered.

“The bases of Masroor and Kaemari have been converted into [land], noted the chief justice.

“When we asked the [authorities] to remove the signs, they instead erected tall buildings behind them, ”he said.

After hearing from the Secretary of Defense, the chief justice requested a written statement and adjourned proceedings in the case until Tuesday, November 30.

The case will then be heard in Islamabad.

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