DHA cinema’s closure may continue till Dec 6

Published: November 6, 2011
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Hearing of a petition challenging closure adjourned without stay order extension. ILLUSTRATION:  JAMAL.K

Hearing of a petition challenging closure adjourned without stay order extension. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL.K

LAHORE: 

The closure of DHA cinema may continue as the civil judge hearing a petition challenging it has adjourned hearing in the case till December 6 without extending an interim stay against the cinema’s closure.

The DHA has been told to submit on December 6 its reply to a contempt of court petition filed by the plaintiff, Mandviwalla Entertainment, on the former’s failure to de-seal the cinema in accordance with earlier court orders. Talking to The Express Tribune, DHA’s counsel said the authority had not sealed the cinema. He said it had been closed until an inspection of a newly-installed three-dimensional projector was complete and the equipment declared fit for use. He said the court was told during Saturday’s hearing that the management could open the cinema any moment once it deposited Rs20 million as security with the DHA administration.

Plaintiff’s counsel held that the stay order against closure remained in effect till the next hearing.

DHA Security Deputy Director Malik Khalid Javed told the court during Friday’s hearing that the cinema was closed owing to serious security threats. He said information about the threats could not be made public, however it could be disclosed to the court if arrangements were made to keep it confidential. DHA’s counsel had earlier submitted an application in the court on November 3, stating that the closure was owed to security threats.

Judge Rai Muhammad Naeem Kharal had stayed the cinema’s closure till November 2, during the October 28 hearing, which was later extended for another day.

In the original petition, Mandviwalla Entertainment (Pvt) Limited had also objected to an advertisement by the DHA on October 2 inviting bids for management of the cinema for a period of two years by October 10.

The petitioner said its agreement with the DHA for management of the cinema, signed on November 15, 2006 for a five-year-term, was effective till November 15, 2011. It said that the ad was published in violation of Clause 5 of the agreement. Under the clause, it said, such proposals could be invited by the DHA only after both parties (DHA and Mandviwalla Entertainment (Pvt) Limited) failed to agree on extending the agreement for another five-year-term, on mutually acceptable terms.

The petitioner said that the ad created an impression that the management had failed to manage the cinema and could, therefore, cause an irreparable loss to its reputation. The petitioner had requested the court to direct the DHA administration to extend the agreement for another five year term on the already agreed terms and conditions.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011.

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