The Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) demolished 25 lawyers' chambers in the vicinity of Sector F-8 district kutcheri on Monday.
A heavy contingent of police, senior officials of the district administration and CDA monitored the operation against the encroachment. The operation started by demolishing lawyers’ chambers constructed on a football ground with the help of heavy machinery.
Sources said that the chambers on the football ground were illegal and deprived youth of sports activities. However, for some reason, soon after the operation to clear the football ground was launched, the district administration officers stopped after a short while.
Sources claimed that between 20 and 25 chambers were demolished and the operation was stopped for a short period due to possible resistance from the lawyers. The teams conducting the operation and the police also left the site.
The deadline given to the lawyers to evacuate the chambers had ended on Monday as CDA razed more than 60 of over 300 structures built illegally at the football ground. The security of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was heightened when the demolition operation was under way, sources added.
Heavy contingents of police and paramilitary forces were deployed at the entrance and exit points and outside the IHC’s chief justice block. CDA also demolished the female bar room and gym built by the Islamabad Bar Council (IBC) and was inaugurated by IBC Vice Chairman Zulfiqar Abbasi four months ago.
The civic authority had pasted posters outside the chambers to remind the lawyers that the deadline given by the Supreme Court (SC) ended on May 1. It also directed the law practitioners to evacuate the illegal chambers as it was the last warning following several notices issued earlier.
After the first phase of the operation, several lawyers started moving from their respective chambers. In this regard, Islamabad Bar Association President Fareed Kaif told The Express Tribune that they have resorted to a legal course. “We have kept things under control after the IHC incident,” he added.
Kaif said that unless adjudication on the review petition was filed in the apex court, there should have been no operation. He said that efforts for the construction of lawyers' complex were underway and the bar would also play its part in that.
The official further said that they were ready to submit an affidavit if the construction of the lawyers complex did not begin. He warned that the operation could worsen things as there was no employment due to Covid-19.
He further maintained that most of the lawyers had gone to their hometowns for Eid holidays and the notices were pasted after they left and the operation was carried out while they were away. He said that the lawyers knew what was happening with them and urged the related authorities to stop testing their patience.
Previously, civic authorities razed more than two dozen illegal extensions of courts in F-8 Kutcheri in Islamabad.
The illegal structures on district kutcheri premises were built in violation of building by-laws and encroaching upon public and private property, said Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials. In March, the authority demolished five courts that were constructed on commercial plots.
The registrar had directed CDA to raze all unauthorised structures in the kutcheri except lawyers’ chambers as they were granted time by the Supreme Court (SC) to vacate voluntarily in two months.
CDA officials said more than two dozen courts established in a private building were issued notices before they were demolished. They added that illegal establishments and extended verandas of eight blocks built in violation of building by-laws in the district kutcheri were also demolished during the anti-encroachment operation.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2021.