The Lahore High Court (LHC) has declared the agreement between the Pakistani Army and the caretaker Punjab government regarding the transfer of one million acres of land on lease as unconstitutional, Urdu News has reported.

The court has ordered the province’s Board of Revenue to remove the ownership of the land from the military and transfer it back to the government, and submit a report to the court within 15 days.

In a detailed judgment, Justice Abid Hussain Chatha of the LHC also stated that the Pakistani Army does not have constitutional and legal authority to be involved in corporate farming and similar activities.

RELATED STORIES

The detailed decision outlines the background of the agreement between the Punjab government and the military, which started in 2021, where the government was leasing 10 lac acres of land to the army for a period of twenty years.

The military had proposed to engage in corporate farming on this land in order to “fulfill the country’s food necessities.” The court has detailed in its judgment regarding the progress made in relation to this proposal, stating that in April 2022, a recommendation was made to present this deal for discussion on the floor of the Punjab Assembly.
However, when the present government came into power, they swiftly completed the action with great speed and allocated one million acres of land to the military.
The Public Interest Litigation Association, an organisation comprising several reputable lawyers, challenged the allocation in the High Court. During the first hearing, the court issued a stay order, halting the military from utilizing the land.

However, after several months, the arguments of both parties were heard.
The court has now ruled that the caretaker government does not have the constitutional and legal right to make such decisions.