The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to stop collecting the entry fee from visitors at Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) till the final outcome of a petition that had challenged its collection.
Hearing a public interest petition filed by Barrister Sajjad Ahmed, Justice Ijaz Ahmed of the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench stopped CAA from collecting Rs20 from individuals, which the authority has been collecting since 2008.
Sajjad’s counsel Raja Saimul Haq Satti told The Express Tribune that the court has also issued notices to the defence secretary, CAA director general and BBIA managers to file their written comments within two weeks.
Apart from the parking fee, visitors other than the driver also have to pay for their visit to the airport. The charges are made on an individual basis, while the cost of visiting with additional members is higher than going alone.
The petitioner has filed a miscellaneous application in the court, saying that the fee collection be stopped as the CAA had failed to respond to his petition pending till August last year.
The petitioner, in his plea filed last year, had also raised question over the purchase of two planes without floating open tenders in 2007.
Making secretary defence, CAA director general, BBIA manger, the contractor collecting the fee, the Competition Commission of Pakistan and the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) as respondents, the petitioner said the CAA had allowed collection of Rs20 to Rs40 from every individual and had exempted certain officials and individuals.
The petition said that the CCP has taken note of this illegal practice and after thorough investigations, directed the CAA to stop discrimination in fee collection.
The petitioner alleged that despite the observation of CCP, CAA has not given up this practice and it should be directed to restrain from collecting the illegal entry fee.
Earlier, the petition was filed at the Islamabad High Court, but the petitioner was directed to approach the LHC, as the airport was located in Rawalpindi’s jurisdiction.
In addition to that, the petitioner alleged the CAA’s logistics department gave tenders for two FAR-25 transport turbo fan aircraft in 2007, but purchased FAR-23 normal aircraft on at the cost of $15.3 million without going through open bidding for the changed category.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2012.