File photo of Imran Khan. Photograph:( Reuters )
Prime Minister Imran Khan should be the first to pay a penalty to get his posh Bani Gala property here regularised, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar said on Monday.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Nisar heard a case regarding encroachments in Bani Gala, a residential area located in Islamabad at the eastern bank of Rawal Lake.
The cricketer-turned-politician had sought the court's attention towards the large-scale encroachment, unchecked and unplanned construction in Bani Gala, massive denuding due to massive tree felling and pollution of the Rawal Lake due to sewage.
The apex court observed that it is the job of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led (PTI) government of Khan to regularise all properties located in the Bani Gala area, including his private residence, Dawn newspaper reported.
Recalling that it was Khan himself who had approached the apex court with an application regarding illegal constructions in Bani Gala, Chief Justice Nisar said the prime minister would have to initiate the process of regularisation of the area by paying the required fine.
"Imran Khan should submit fees towards regularisation before anyone else," directed Justice Nisar.
During the hearing, the additional attorney general presented a report prepared by the Survey of Pakistan regarding illegal constructions in Bani Gala. He informed the court that the reports prepared by the Capital Development Authority and the federal ombudsman are similar to the report of Survey of Pakistan.
The top judge wondered how encroachments could be removed in Bani Gala, saying that besides illegal constructions issues like security and pollution are also impacting the area.
He said a new government is now in power and it should look towards resolving these issues.
"Those responsible for illegal constructions need to be fined," the top judge remarked.
Turning to Prime Minister Khan's counsel Babar Awan, the chief justice asked, "You are part of the government, tell us what measures are being taken to regularise properties."
In response, Awan said, "The Cabinet is taking up this matter."
Justice Nisar then remarked, "Prime Minister Imran will also have to get his property regularised and if it is not already then he should pay a penalty and get it done."
He observed that while the constructions outside the limits of Korang riverbed could not be razed, those within its perimeters are "not acceptable in any condition".
He directed the federal government to regularise all constructions in the area, including its own.
Wrapping up the case to the extent of encroachments, the bench also ordered the government to pay its own penalties, and collect those due to be paid by citizens.
The top court ordered authorities to demolish all unauthorised constructions around Korang riverbed in the light of the report drafted by the Survey of Pakistan.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until October 12.