24 July, 2014 / Ramazan 25, 1435

ISLAMABAD, May 15: Ignoring the Supreme Court’s guidelines, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has once again allowed a multinational company to use a public park in the heart of the city –Fatima Jinnah Park—for parking vehicles.

“Over 400 vehicles enter the F-9 Park (Fatima Jinnah Park) from the Islamabad Traffic Police gate, and stay parked there till late evening,” maintained Raza Munir, a daily visitor to F-9 Park.

“I have asked the guards about the parked cars and learnt that these belong to a multinational company running its business in F-8,” Raza said, quoting the guard.

The guards also informed him that a bus collected all staff members of the company from the park’s gate, and dropped them at their office in F-8.

A high court lawyer, Obaid Abbasi, said the CDA’s approval to allow parking of multinational company was against the Supreme Court decision given in context of saving public parks. He quoted the SC decision relating to the Jubilee Park in F-7 given in 2006.

The apex court had cancelled a lease between the CDA and Shah Sharabeel for the construction of a mini-golf club on the public park (Juiblee Park in Sector F-7 Markaz).

The SC had ruled, “Admittedly a public park, if it is earmarked in a housing scheme, creates a right amongst the public… [to enter] the park without any obstacle, being a fundamental right enshrined in Article 26 read with Article 9 of the Constitution.”

Therefore, the court stated that the liberty of a person to access or utilise a right available to him could not be taken away by converting the facility into a commercial area to extend benefit to a third person.

This is the second time under the current regime that the CDA management has allowed public parks to be used as parking space.

In April this year, the CDA also violated the Supreme Court’s direction but no inquiry was conducted by the sitting CDA board members.

The civic authority had converted a developed public park in I-8 sector into a parking space for the under-construction commercial building of the EOBI.

“The authority’s management seems least bothered in implementing the apex orders and continues flouting it, thus ignoring the fact that it is legally bound to implement the orders of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit,” said Mr Abbasi.

The lawyer also maintained that it was clearly written in the Islamabad Land Disposal Regulations 2005 that allowing parking to any private entity in a part of the city would be a commercial venture.

A finance wing official added, “CDA is losing revenue by providing the parking space to a multinational company besides violating the SC orders.”

The official maintained that the multinational company which had shifted its parking to the public park was originally supposed to provide the same in the basement of the building.

“The company has also violated CDA building bylaws, while the authority is unable to implement its writ in the city and its board is maintaining a status quo,” asserted one senior administration wing official.

Despite multiple attempts, CDA chairman Syed Tahir Shahbaz was not available for comment on the matter.

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