Kuwait’s emir in legal battle for ownership of land

Kuwait’s emir in legal battle for ownership of land

ISLAMABAD: A ‘fake’ letter of attorney has put a multi-million rupees plot owned by the emir of Kuwait at stake in the federal capital.

There are at least two claimants to the 20,000 kanal plot in the Diplomatic Enclave, one of the secured locations in Islamabad. The plot belonged to the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Al-Ahmad Al-Jabar Al-Sabah.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday reserved its judgment on an application moved by Sadruddin Hashwani seeking to implead him as a party in the matter.

Mr Al-Sabah purchased the plot in 1980 from the government of Pakistan when he was the deputy prime minister of Kuwait.

Mian Javed Zia and Mr Hashwani, the owner of a chain of five-star hotels, approached a civil court to get possession of the plot in 2007 and 2013, respectively.

IHC reserves judgment on Sadruddin Hashwani’s request to become party in dispute

The stance of Mr Zia was that the agreement to sell the land was materialised in 1990 for Rs30 million.

Mr Hashwani claimed that in 2005 he paid $2 million for the same land to Qasim Omar Al Yaqoot, the then ambassador of Kuwait.

Mr Hashwani filed an application with a civil judge of Islamabad in 2013 for becoming a party in the dispute which was pending in the court since 2007.

The civil judge on Oct 11, 2014, dismissed Mr Hashwani’s application.

The hotel chain owner then filed an appeal with the IHC for getting the same relief. After hearing the parties, Justice Athar Minallah of the IHC on Friday reserved the judgment.

As per detail of the matter, Mr Zia, a businessman, produced an agreement signed between him and Qasim Omar Al Yaqoot, the former ambassador of Kuwait, regarding the transfer of the plot to the former. Mr Zia was a partner of Masco Construction, a firm which claimed 50pc ownership of the plot.

The construction firm claimed to have paid Rs15 million to Mr Zia for 10,000 square yards of the land.

Mr Zia through his lawyer Ali Raza Kabir contended that the then ambassador of Kuwait had shown him the attorney letter signed by the emir of Kuwait which authorised him (the ambassador) to sell the plot. The deal was materialised and he handed Rs30 million to Yaqoot as the amount agreed between them for the land.

However, at a later stage, the embassy of Kuwait wrote a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleging that the attorney letter was fake and that the emir never authorised any person for the sale or purchase of the plot.

Yaqoot, the man behind the controversy, died before the litigation was initiated in the civil court of Islamabad. According to a lawyer associated with the case, had Yaqoot been alive the controversy would have been settled within days. Since there was a factual controversy involved in the matter, the parties preferred to settle the issue through the court of law.

While the matter was pending for adjudication before the civil judge, Mr Hashwani moved an application to become a party in the ‘dispute’ as he also claimed the ownership of the plot. However, after dismissal of the application, he approached the IHC.

Before the IHC, his application stated that “the applicant had valuable vested rights in the property” and may be impleaded as a necessary party.

The embassy of Kuwait through its counsel Sanaullah Zahid in an application maintained that the emir of Kuwait never appointed any attorney for dealing with his land-related matters and that the emir never authorised any government or private official to dispose of the land. If there is any letter of attorney, it would be fake, the counsel insisted.

Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1259711/kuwaits-emir-in-legal-battle-for-ownership-of-land

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