The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Gulzar Ahmed, on Friday grilled the Defence Secretary over commercial use of military land, asking whether structures like cinemas and wedding halls were built for defence purposes, the Dawn reported.
Stating that colonels and majors were acting like kings, the Chief Justice said, “What the colonels and majors desire, happens.”
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice and comprising Justices Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Ijazul Ahsan was hearing the issue of military lands being used for commercial purposes at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry.
Ahmed questioned Defence Secretary Lt Gen (Retd) Mian Mohammad Hilal Hussain about the activities being conducted on military lands.
“This land was given to you for strategic and defence [purposes and yet] you have started commercial activities on it,” he said.
“Were wedding halls, cinemas and housing societies built for defence purposes,” Ahmed asked, the report said.
He also said that all Askari housing projects had been built on cantonment lands.
“We have decided that this will not happen again,” the Defence Secretary said, adding that the construction of housing societies and commercial use of military land would be checked and stopped.
At this, Justice Amin asked Hussain how that would be made possible and where the process would start. The judge asked him to provide a written explanation.
“Go and tell all the chiefs [of the armed forces] that the land meant for defence purposes will not be used for commercial objectives. Go to all the military cantonments and tell them the land will be used only for strategic purposes,” Ahmed directed the Defence Secretary, the report added.
He also said that commercial activities were underway at Masroor Base and Faisal Base and tall buildings had been erected there when orders were given to remove the signboards.