Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Illegal Occupation of Property in Pakistan

The said information is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice because factual circumstances are different in each case. Detailed legal research is necessary to resolve any dispute or before giving any formal opinion.

Disputes between individuals over title-to or possession-of immovable property, and illegal or forcible dispossession of a rightful owner are not unusual in Pakistan, wherein a class of persons called property grabbers, qabza group or land mafia are acting with nefarious objectives to illegally or forcibly take possession of immovable properties belonging to others. Their easiest victims are overseas Pakistanis or non-resident Pakistanis who have substantial investments in residential and commercial real estate in Pakistan. Innocent owners’ faces tremendous hardship when it comes to getting property vacated in Pakistan from tenants or unauthorized occupiers known as qabza group, property grabbers or land mafia. Their properties are often grabbed by others, including relatives, and they have almost no redressal and are helpless. They run from pillar to post to get relief but in vain. To curb the said practice, in the year 2005, the Illegal Dispossession Act was promulgated to protect the lawful owners and occupiers of immovable properties from illegal or forcible dispossession. The said law applies to dispossession from immovable property by the property grabbers, qabza group and land mafia with punishment. Aim of the law is to discourage the property grabbers, qabza group or land mafia and provide speedy relief to the aggrieved persons.

Q: What is the name of law to curb the activities of the property grabbers?
A: Illegal Dispossession Act, 2005 is the law which is applicable to the whole of Pakistan

Q: What is the purpose of Illegal Dispossession Act, 2005?
A: To protect the lawful owners and occupies of immovable properties from their illegal or forcible dispossession by the property grabbers/qabza group or land mafia.

Q: If anyone disposes lawful owner from his property is there any punishment for him?
A: Whoever as a property grabber is involved in an illegal possession or illegal dispossession is punishable with imprisonment and fine.

Q: Whether the Illegal Dispossession law is more efficacious law?
A: Before the Illegal Dispossession Act, 2005 there was no specific law for prevention of forceful and illegal dispossession of lawful owner of immovable property. Such cases were tried in civil courts and take many years to get the dispute resolved, but after promulgation of Illegal Dispossession Act, 2005 aggrieved person can file a complaint in the court of Sessions which is a speedy remedy.

Q: Usually in property disputes parties file civil suits, but in case of property grabbers what to do?
A: In case of property grabbers/qabza group, you do not need to file civil suit in Civil Court instead of civil suit you are to lodge a complaint in the Sessions Court. Upon a complaint the court may direct the officer-in-charge of a police station and the concerned revenue officer to investigate in the case.

Q: I am having dispute over a house of our ancestral my relative got possession of it, can I lodge a complaint under the Illegal Dispossession Act, 2005 in Session Court?
A: No, a person has to be a property grabber or a member of Qabza Group or land mafia before he can be proceeded against under the Illegal Dispossession Act, 2005 In case of dispute among the co-sharers or co-owners you have to seek your remedy before civil court.

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