ISLAMABAD: A district court has turned down a request by lawyers’ to extend a stay order which had barred the municipal authorities from taking any action against encroachment built by some black coats in a football ground in Sector F-8.
After the restraining order was vacated, there is now no legal hindrance to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in launching an operation, demolishing semi-built chambers and to retrieve the playground.
The playground, measuring 16,061 square yards, is located along Park Road in Sector F-8. It was initially encroached upon in 2013 when some members of the Islamabad Bar Association started building chambers over half the ground and allotted them to their members.
The CDA tried to stop the lawyers who got a stay order from a civil judge on February 11, 2013, restraining the civic authority from acting against them.
After a brief hype, the matter was soon consigned to oblivion and the authorities too turned a blind eye towards the playground and the encroachment therein.
Then in November 2017, when the Islamabad bar launched next round of construction of lawyers’ chambers on the amenity plot, the matter was highlighted on social media. Sensing favourable public sentiment, the CDA once again tried to force the lawyers out.
But they again managed to obtain a stay, this time from a senior civil judge.
The judge not only restrained the CDA from taking any action against the illegal construction of chambers on November 30, he adjourned the case for nearly two months.
Curiously, the judge in his order termed the construction of chambers as ‘lawful’.
“Respondents/defendants [CDA and others] are restrained from interfering into the lawful running affairs of the construction and allotment of chambers,” read the November 30 order issued by Senior Civil Judge Muhammad Shabbir.
On its next hearing on January 20, the CDA requested the court to withdraw the interim stay order.
“The present move to construct chambers over the playground would result in 75 per cent of the total area being encroached upon. The referred encroachment are absolutely illegal and in sheer disregard of the law on the subject and judicial pronouncements,” implored the CDA in its reply, adding that an amenity plot cannot be used for anything other than the allotted purpose, let alone encroachment.
On Monday, Senior Civil Judge Aamir Aziz Khan heard arguments from CDA’s counsel and refused to extend the stay order as sought by the lawyers.
“Since the order dated November 30, 2017, [stay order] was passed till a specific date, January 20, 2018. And due to its prima facie illegality, it cannot be extended, hence the request of counsel for plaintiff [Islamabad Bar Association] for extension of the injunctive order is denied,” read an order issued by the court on Monday.
The order comes almost a week after Chief Justice of Pakistan had taken a suo motu notice of the playground’s encroachment and had sought a report from the CDA, which was submitted to the apex court on February 8.
Advocate Kashif Malik, who represented the CDA in the case, confirmed to The Express Tribune that the stay order had been vacated.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2018.