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Speedy courts to solve Pakistan expats' land woes

Speedy courts to solve Pakistan expats land woes

Dubai - In the next three to six months, properties worth more than Rs100b could be returned to their owners through the speedy trials of 1,148 cases.

By Muzaffar Rizvi

Published: Sun 15 Sep 2019, 10:40 PM

Soon, it will be easier for Pakistani expats to recover the properties they have lost to land grabbers, with the help of the Punjab Overseas Pakistani Commission (OPC), top officials have said.
In the next three to six months, properties worth more than Rs100 billion (Dh2.3 billion) could be returned to their owners through the speedy trials of 1,148 cases.
Waseem Ramay, vice-chairman of the OPC, said the Punjab government will soon approve a revised act for the commission, which was established in 2014 to protect the land and revenue of overseas Pakistanis against illegal possession.
"Now, Pakistani expatriates' problems, depending on the nature of complaints, will be solved within 30 days to a maximum of three months," Ramay told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of an event hosted by Pakistan Business Council Dubai on Friday.
"We have studied a similar regulation in the UK and India to incorporate many positive changes in the new OPC Act and empower the commission."
The governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar; the chief justice of Lahore High Court (LHC), Sardar Shamim Khan; and senior judges of LHC addressed a gathering of the Pakistani business community and assured them that their complaints shall be resolved soon.
"The Pakistani government led by Imran Khan is committed to resolve key issues of overseas Pakistanis at the earliest, as they have been serving the country by remitting $22 billion annually," Sarwar said.
He advised the Pakistani business community to lodge complaints immediately to solve cases against land mafia.
Business council proposal
The governor appreciated the proposal of Pakistan Business Council Dubai president Iqbal Dawood to set up a similar institution in other provinces and at the federal level.
"It's a very valid proposal and I will suggest to replicate the OPC model in other parts of the country," said Sarwar.
Shamim Khan said special courts have been set up at districts to resolve the cases of overseas Pakistanis within three months.
"Three LHC judges have already been appointed to address the cases of overseas Pakistanis while three judges are also being nominated in every district to look after the overseas cases," the chief justice said.
"The district courts in Punjab have already resolved around 800,000 cases from January till March this year," he said.
Ramay said the OPC received more than 16,000 complaints, out of which 7,500 have already been resolved.
"The OPC settled more than 2,500 cases in the past six months. We have recovered Rs11 billion worth of properties grabbed by the land mafia and handed over to overseas Pakistanis," he said.
The revised act for the OPC will soon be presented in the Punjab Assembly for debate and formal approval.
Besides speeding up case resolutions, the new act shall also empower the commission to take the necessary action against authorities, in case complaints are not resolved within the stipulated timeframe, Ramay said.

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