KARACHI: Those who love risky rides or playing horror games can now head to the Go Aish Karachi adventure park once again as the Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered on Wednesday the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) authorities to unlock it.
The park, which is the first-of-its-kind recreational spot in the city, has been closed since May last year over non-payment of bills. It was established on the hills of Safari Park in March 2007.
A two-judge bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Nadeem Akhtar, passed this order while allowing a petition filed by the private management of Go Aish Karachi against the KMC authorities.
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The private company had challenged the KMC administrator’s order to lock down and retain possession of the park’s premises.
Advocate Irfan Bhutta, who represented the private company, challenged the KMC administrator’s order passed on April 28 last year. He explained that the metropolitan corporation had directed the petitioner to clear six-month dues outstanding against them in order to continue running the adventure park.
The petitioner was directed to clear the dues, amounting to Rs1.8 million within three days, said Bhutta, adding that a request was made to the KMC administrator to allow more time to make the payment.
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The lawyer alleged that the administrator accused the petitioner of violating the terms and conditions of the agreement under which it was allowed to run the park. In view of such order, the city administration was ordered to retain the land.
After hearing arguments from the lawyers representing both the petitioner as well as the KMC, the bench observed that the main grievance of the petitioner is that the KMC administrator’s order was passed without any prior intimation or show-cause notice and without affording them any opportunity of a hearing.
Advocate Iqbal Khurram, who represented the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, pointed out that a letter was issued to the petitioner.
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“Perusal of the said letter shows that the same was issued calling upon the petitioner to pay the outstanding amount, and, as such, the letter cannot be deemed to be a notice before taking any impugned action,” the judges observed in their order.
“Perusal of the impugned order seems that opportunity of hearing was not afforded to the petitioner before taking the impugned action, whereby all the petitions on subject land have been terminated and it was ordered that possession of the subject land be resumed,” it added.
Therefore, the order said that, “In view of the above, the impugned order is set aside by directing the respondents to remove their locks forthwith from the subject premises and restore the possession thereof to the petitioner.”
The judges clarified, however, that in case of violation of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement, the respondents shall be at liberty to take action against the petitioner in accordance with the law. In these terms, the bench allowed the petition along with listed applications with no orders as to costs.
Earlier in May 2016 when Go Aish park was closed down, KMC’s culture, sports and recreation director Raza Abbas Rizvi told The Express Tribune that once the dues are paid, they will reopen the park or hand it over to some other contractor.
The adventure park is a privately-run recreational facility of Safari Park, which has remained controversial as it is a commercial venture on amenity land.