Top court tells CDA to start with PM’s house

Rejects plea to form regularisation commission, turns down plea to halt encroachment demolition

Abid Ali October 06, 2018

ISLAMABAD: To set the right example, the top court on Friday observed that the process of regularising buildings in the upscale Bani Gala area of the federal capital should start with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s house.

In this regard, the civic body was directed to start the process of taking punitive action from the premier’s sprawling mansion should he fail to pay the regularisation fees.

These directives were issued by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar while hearing the case of illegal buildings constructed in Bani Gala.

During the hearing on Friday, the SC rejected a proposal to set up a commission for regularisation of properties in Bani Gala.

PM Imran’s lawyer Babar Awan told the court they will approach the CDA to regularise the Bani Gala mansion.

At this, the CJP asked whether the same documents will be presented to the civic body where there is a layout map for which Awan had no evidence?

CJP Nisar noted that since Imran was a petitioner in the case, he must take the first step to regularize his property and that the CDA must be bound to take the first step against the premier.

Awan requested the court to form a commission for regularizing properties but the court rejected the request and said that forming a commission will only prolong the matter.

The CJP noted that a number of buildings have been built in Bani Gala without having their layout maps passed by the CDA.

The CDA chairman pointed out that the Islamabad High Court had suspended any and all regularisations in the city until the master plan is amended.

At this, the CJP remarked that the high court's order will be suspended.

Awan informed the court that the CDA has already issued a notice to the PM for the layout map.

During the hearing, a woman, who lives near the Korang River where the court had ordered to demolish illegal homes, appeared before the bench.

She pleaded that her husband had cancer at an advanced stage and a seven-year-old son, and contended that her house was not built on encroached land. She asked if she is evicted, where would she go.

The top court rejected the plea to withdraw the order of removing encroachments along the Korang River.

The court observed that no doubt their order would affect those whose homes will be demolished, but homes built illegally on state land will have to be torn down.

The woman’s lawyer said that the court had ordered demolishing buildings building within 200 feet of the Korang River. Justice Ijazul Hassan remarked that the court had ordered to demolish encroachments near the stream. The CJP added that everyone asks that they are not asked about their illegal houses.

However, CJP Nisar noted that if a review petition is filed against their order, it will be given a patient hearing.

The attorney general told the court that two leases in the city had been issued according to the law while notices have been issued to four other leaseholders to make the necessary corrections as per their lease agreements.

The lease from one lease-holder has been withdrawn.

At this, the CDA chairman was directed to survey the five sites in the capital.

He was further directed to brief the court on the steps taken to prevent the dumping of sewerage water into the Rawal lake.

The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) was directed to submit a report on the water situation in the dam within a week.

The CJP remarked that owing to the dumping polluted water and other waste into the Rawal lake was causing citizens of the twin cities to suffer from breathing problems apart from causing hepatitis to spread.

During the hearing, the Additional Attorney General (AAG) told the court that a four-kilometre-long boundary wall to demarcate the boundary of the botanical garden and to protect the land has been built while a wall on another four-kilometre stretch will be erected by the end of November.

Construction on the wall, he said, is expected to be completed by February of 2019.

He added that Rs188 million had been approved for building the wall. Of this, Rs15 million had been released.

The AAG further said that cases regarding encroachment of the Botanical Gardens were pending before courts at various levels.

At this, the CJP summoned records of all the pending cases so that a verdict could be issued. Reviewing the matter of land leased to the Lake View Park, the AAG said that the CDA had leased.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2018.


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