March 2020





ISLAMABAD. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Wednesday claimed that it has retrieved 1,200 kanals of land from encroachers in the Rawat area and handed them over to the DHA.

The CDA’s Enforcement Directorate, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) deputy commissioner, Islamabad Police and other relevant formations took part in the operation. The land had been acquired for the construction of the Islamabad Highway in 1963 and all rehabilitation benefits were made accordingly.

Whill the alignment of the highway was later changed, the land was lying unused. Later on, DHA expressed a desire to take over the vacant land for developing its second phase.

In this regard, DHA and CDA reached an agreement in 2007, according to which DHA will hand over a kanal of a developed plot against four kanals of undeveloped land. However, the land was occupied by encroachers, Which has now been retrieved and handed over to DHA.



Ikram Junaidi Updated March 10, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Monday decided to obtain record of all land purchases made by foreigners during the last five years.

The decision was made while discussing ‘The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2018 (Amendment of Article 253A)’ moved by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmed.

There was a perception that under the bill a person who is not a citizen of Pakistan shall not be entitled to own or purchase immovable property in the country. However, the mover said though foreign investments should be welcomed, it should be ensured that national interest was not compromised.

“No foreigner should be given lease of land for over 20 years because in Pakistan it becomes almost impossible to find record after two decades. After 20 years it should be seen if the lease of land should be extended or not,” Senator Ahmed said.

The meeting was chaired by PML-N Senator Mohammad Javed Abbasi at the committee room of Parliament House.

Mover of bill says no foreigner should be given lease of land for over 20 years because it becomes almost impossible to find record after two decades

Majority of the members were of the view that there should be no bar on foreign citizens from purchasing land in the country after fulfilling all formalities. It was pointed out that a bill could be introduced on the matter if needed and it doesn’t need to be a constitutional amendment. Moreover, the members observed that land was a provincial matter so how it can be dealt by the federal government.

However, Mr Ahmed said a bill on the matter cannot be moved as there was no law regarding purchase of land by foreigners.

“Clause III of Foreigners Act 1946 does not discuss the issue of land for foreigners. Moreover, all issues related to foreigners are in the domain of the federal government. I suggest that the committee should obtain five years record from the concerned departments of all the property purchased by foreigners during the last five years,” he said.

For the satisfaction of the mover, the committee decided to obtain the land record and the procedures followed.

After the meeting, Senator Ahmed told Dawn that foreigners from America, Europe and China purchased a large number of properties in Pakistan.

“Chinese nationals also married Pakistani women and the latter were told that the grooms had property in Pakistan. Though I am not against the foreign direct investment, we should keep national interest in mind,” he said.

“During the last four meetings, I demanded record of land purchased by foreigners but the concerned departments seemed reluctant to provide it,” Mr Ahmed said.

Meanwhile, the government opposed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2018 (Amendment of Article 45) moved by JI chief Senator Sirajul Haq calling for a provision that the president of Pakistan would not exercise this power in cases of punishments awarded under Hudood or Qisas.

The government observed that the president’s power was not just for pardon but also of respite and reviewing other sensitivities.

Five members voted in favour of the bill and two opposed it and the bill was approved.

Article 45 of the Constitution empowers the president to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2020



Syed Irfan Raza Updated March 05, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday at two separate meetings approved establishment of 10 special economic zones (SEZs) in the four provinces and privatisation of 33 state entities/lands during current fiscal year.

According to the PM Office, five of the 10 SEZs will be established in Punjab (Bhalwal, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Vehari and Allama Iqbal SEZ), two each in Sindh (Naushahro Feroze and Bhulari) and Balochistan (Bostan and Hub) and one in Khyber Pahtunkhwa (Rashakai).

Presiding over a meeting of the board of approval for the SEZs, Prime Minister Khan said the purpose of establishment of special economic zones was to provide facilities and incentives to the business community.

He said the government was committed to providing ease of doing business and favourable environment to the business community to generate economic activity in the country.

The Board of Investment (BoI) secretary informed the meeting that 13 SEZs had so far been notified while work on setting up 12 more in the public sector and six in the private sector was in progress.

The meeting was told that after approval of law for the SEZs in 2012, only seven special economic zones were set up in the country till 2018, while the incumbent government had notified six new zones in a single year (2019).

The BoI secretary said that the process of amending the law for increasing incentives in the SEZs had almost been completed.

The meeting was briefed about the industries to be set up in the new special economic zones. The meeting decided that all matters about the SEZs’ establishment would be resolved in consultation with the provincial governments.

The meeting also decided to provide facilities of electricity and wheeling of power transmission to power generation industries in the special economic zones.

The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to set up a working group comprising the ministers for planning and energy, the commerce adviser and others for the establishment of the SEZs, and making the required laws and regulations easier to provide facilities to the investors and businessmen.

The working group will submit its recommendations about the special economic zones to the prime minister.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar told the meeting that work was in progress to formulate an economic growth strategy regarding Gilgit-Baltistan, which also included progress of the industrial sector.

The prime minister stressed the need for utilising the tourism potential of Gilgit-Baltistan and establishment of special economic zones there.

The meeting was also attended by Leader of the House in Senate Shibli Faraz, Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, Adviser on Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, GB Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman, Special Assistant to the PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant Nadeem Afzal Chan, BoI Chairman Zubair Gillani, KP Finance Minister Taimoor Zafar Jhagra, Punjab Minister for Industries Mian Mohammad Aslam and senior officials.

Prime Minister Khan also chaired a separate meeting on privatisation which gave approval for privatisation of 33 state entities/lands which would be completed this year.

These entities are: two RLNG power plants, SME Bank, Services International Portal, Lahore, Jinnah Convention Centre, Islamabad, besides 27 government lands.

The PM said that privatisation of non-profitable institutions and unused government properties was in the national interest as it would reduce burden on the national exchequer and provide financial resources for social and welfare development projects.

The meeting was attended by Asad Umar, Minister for Privatisation Muhammadmian Soomro, Hafiz Shaikh, Razak Dawood, Adviser on Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the Privatization Division secretary and senior officials.

The Privatization Division secretary briefed the prime minister about the progress on privatisation of various government institutions and properties.

The prime minister was told the seven privatisation transactions would be completed by May and June by this year.

PM Khan said that all possible effort must be made to complete the process of privatisation in the stipulated timeframe. “Inter-ministerial coordination should be further improved so that quick action is taken on all unresolved affairs and all hurdles are removed,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2020