Judge orders police to only arrest accused if ‘sufficient evidence’ becomes available
Bahria Town chairman allegedly involved in land grabbing and extra-judicial activities
Police, revenue officials allegedly dance to his tunes due to his influence on appointments
ISLAMABAD OCT 2 (TNS): An FIR has been registered against Malik Riaz CEO OF Bahria Town and his son Ali Riaz in Bhara Kau Police Station, Islamabad for allegedly occupying a piece of land illegally.
According to reports an FIR has been registered against the land grabbers (Malik Riaz and Ali Riaz owners of Bahria Town) at the police station of Bhara Kau following the direction of Justice of peace/additional session judge (East), Islamabad.
Appellant Raja Yasir Ali Abbasi is the owner of a land which was illegally occupied by Mailk Riaz and his land grabber team. The total area of the land is almost 18 kanal which is costly enough.
Earlier the application was submitted to the SHO Bhara Kahu Police station on July 26, 2017 by the complainant but no action was taken against the culprits. Then another application was submitted to SSP Islamabad but again the police did not pay any attention.
After going through the hectic and tedious exercise as well as looking at the irresponsible attitude of local police the complainant approached the Justice of Peace/Session Court and filed petition u/s 22-A Cr.P.C where the justice of peace issued instructions to local police for the registration of FIR u/s 154 Cr.P.C.
After getting the orders of the court, initially police officials hesitated while registering an FIR against the influential Malik Riaz and his team.
Despite all the evidences they tried to manipulate the entire scenario and did not pay any significant attention to it but later on they had to register the FIR against the accused persons.
The appellant Raja Yasir courageously continued his legal proceedings with full support of legal fraternity to follow this case.
Honorable Court ordered the police department to take some necessary action against such illegal activities. The copy of FIR is attached herewith. FIR NO 383/17 Dated: September 29, 2017 U/S 379/427/341/447/109 PPC PS BHARA KAHU
Police registered an FIR against property tycoon, and his son, and the Bahria Town management in a land-grabbing case more than a week after a local court issued orders to this effect.
Additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Sikandar Khan had ordered local police on Sept 21 to book the accused on the complaint of a widow and other residents of Phulgran, located in the suburbs of the federal capital.
This is not the first case of land-grabbing by Bahria Town. In 2012 local police registered an FIR against property tycoon Malik Riaz on the complaint of a resident of Bhara Kahu.
Rizwan Abbasi, the counsel for the complainant Raja Zahid, filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court, stating that Malik Riaz had grabbed 100 kanal land of his client but the police were not registering a case against him due to his influence.
In November, 2016 local court ordered the Nilor police to register an FIR against property tycoon Malik Riaz over a land dispute.
A resident of Mouza Tumair in the suburbs of Islamabad said that on Nov 28, 2012, employees of Bahria Town encroached upon 506 kanals of his land at the behest of Malik Riaz. He said when he attempted to resist and retrieve the land, the property tycoon threatened him with dire consequences and warned that he may be implicated in a fake case.
In written comments filed before the court, the Nilor station house officer (SHO) stated: “An agreement has been made between the applicant Nisar Ahmed and Malik Riaz of Bahria Town; that no land was transferred in favour of Bahira Town and the dispute between the parties is of civil nature.”
The judge, however, said it could not be left “at the discretion of the SHO in order to see whether the commission of cognisable offence is made out or not. The in-charge of police station is duty bound to enter the information provided regarding the commission of cognisable offences in the relevant register and to act in accordance with the mandate”.
He then directed the Nilor SHO to register the case against Malik Riaz under the relevant provisions of the law and proceed further “fairly, diligently and honestly” in accordance with the law.
Malik Riaz of Bahria Town has become an unannounced don of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. He is also influencing appointments of police and revenue officials to use them for his interests and deprive the ordinary persons of their properties in the twin cities.
Patwaris and other revenue officials who look after land matters are also appointed and transferred after approval of Riaz. In so many cases patwaris changed the record and illegally transferred land in name of Riaz depriving the ordinary people of their land.
Presently there are several cases of land grabbing directly or indirectly against Bahria Town and are under proceeding in trial and apex courts, but Riaz hires some prominent lawyers who play an important role in influencing the cases in trial courts.
Cases of murder, land grabbing and other heinous crimes have been filed against Riaz in the courts. Almost in every case higher courts had to order lodging of FIR against him.
On October 27, 2009 a three-member bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khwaja and Justice Ghulam Rabbani ordered Sihala police to lodge an FIR and arrest Bahria Town chairman Malik Riaz Hussain. The court issued these orders on a suo moto notice on reports of the murder of security guard Fiaz Ahmed, who was killed in 2008. In that case seven people were arrested, but all were released on bail. However, Malik Riaz could not be arrested. People complain that Riaz forces them to sell him their land and allege that if they refuse they are harassed with help of local police.
The court directed Sihala police official to record the statement of Shamraiza Bibi, Ahmed’s widow, in the courtroom. In her statement she said Malik Riaz was responsible for the murder of her husband. During the course of hearing, two citizens – Raja Qayyum and Habibullah appeared before the bench and maintained that they were victimized by Malik Riaz, who had gotten them beaten through police as they were not selling their land to him. They alleged that they were kept locked for three months, forcing them to sell their properties to the Bahria Town chairman.
An SC bench headed by CJ Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry ordered the district and sessions judge Islamabad in 2009 to launch a judicial inquiry against Riaz for his alleged land grabbing through coercive and blackmailing tactics and submit report to the apex court. The DCO Islamabad was directed to facilitate and cooperate with the district and sessions judge in this regard. Almost 100 persons gave their statements against Malik Riaz but the police failed to take action against him.
Many people in the past tried to protect their properties from land mafia but mostly their struggle ended in their death and astonishingly families of the deceased were forced to have a patch-up with land mafia. This situation has developed a common perception that no one can stand against Riaz in federal capital and nearby areas.
Bhara Kahu police registered the FIR on Sept 29 under sections 109, 341, 379, 427 and 447 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which deal with theft, wrongful restraint, mischief and criminal trespass.
Advocate Yasir Ali, one of the complainants, told he had inherited just over eight kanals of land worth approximately Rs80-90 million in the Phulgran revenue estate, which was illegally occupied by Bahria Town.
He said that when he visited his family land on July 26, he found them occupied by Bahria Town guards. He claimed that he also approached the Bahria Town office located on Murree Expressway, near Satra Meel.
“I showed them the ownership documents, but they said the matter was not in their hands,” he said, adding that when he initially approached Bhara Kahu police to lodge a complaint, the station house officer and other officials refused to entertain him.
He said that he had approached the district courts and filed a petition seeking the registration of a case.
The complainant told the court that the property tycoon had illegally grabbed his inherited land and included it in his private housing scheme.
Mustafa Tanveer, counsel for Malik Riaz, told the court that the issue regarding the ownership of the land in question was pending before a civil court.
He alleged that the complainants had filed the petition for the registration of an FIR against Malik Riaz and his son in a bid to blackmail them, and argued that since the matter was pending before a civil court, criminal proceedings could not be initiated.
In the order, however, the ADSJ observed that pendency of a civil suit is not a bar against criminal proceedings, as both can proceed simultaneously.
But in his order, the judge noted that it was not necessary to arrest an accused as soon as the FIR was registered, and directed that police should only take the accused into custody when a cognisable offence was proven during the course of the investigation.
“It is to be clarified here that when an FIR is registered it is not necessary that in all cases the accused should be arrested. The accused may be arrested only in those cases where sufficient evidence comes on record against the accused,” the order read.
Moreover, “if during investigation, the information provided by the petitioner is proved false, local police may initiate strict proceedings under Section 182 (invoked against false accusers) of Pakistan Penal Code against the informant for providing false information”, the order further states.
When contacted, Bahria Town spokesperson retired Col Mohammad Khalil told that the housing society had lawfully purchased the land in question.
He admitted there was a minor dispute between the society and locals, adding that the case was pending before a civil court in Islamabad.
However, he alleged that locals had filed an application seeking the registration of an FIR against Bahria Town high-ups with mala fide intent, to pressure the housing society into giving them a better deal.