City cinema house back in business

Published Sep 12, 2013 06:59am

ISLAMABAD, Sept 11: Cineplex, the only cinema in the federal capital, became operational once again after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) restored the no objection certificate (NOC) for setting up the cinema in Centaurus mall.

IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, while hearing a petition filed by the Mandviwala Entertainment (the owner of the cinema house), restored the NOC on Wednesday.

According to Rana Ishaq, the media advisor of Pak Gulf Construction (the company which owns the Centaurus mall), the cinema had resumed its business on Wednesday after the court suspended the letter regarding the withdrawal of NOC.

The cinema was launched on August 16, 2013 after the Capital Development Authority (CDA) issued it an NOC. However, the civic body later withdrew the certificate on September 6, stating that the mall had not obtained a completion certificate from the authority. Consequently, the cinema was forced to shut down.

Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, counsel for the petitioner, adopted before the court that the CDA had granted the NOC for the Centaurus Cineplex on August 15, 2013. Under the terms and references, the NOC issued was valid for a period of one year, he added.

After receiving the certificate, the cinema owner had obtained a licence from the district administration under Section 13 of the Motion Picture Ordinance 1979, which was valid till August 15, 2014.

“Citing non-completion of the building as a reason, the CDA on September 6 withdrew the NOC and also sent a copy of its decision to the district administration and the petitioner,” the counsel said.

Mr Zafar said the petitioner had invested Rs200 million in the establishment of the cinema and the decisions of the civic agency would cause serious loss to the investment.

Furthermore, he alleged that at the behest of its (the cinema’s) Rawalpindi-based competitor, the CDA had closed the only cinema set up in the capital.

While talking to Dawn, Raja Zafar said the competitor wanted to establish its own cinema at the mall and was creating hurdles for the current Cineplex.

‘Initial agreement’

It may be mentioned that Cinepax, which is running a cinema house in Rawalpindi’s Jinnah Park, had approached the Islamabad High Court against the Mandviwala Entertainment in February 2012.

It had maintained that initially, Cinepax was allowed to establish the cinema house in Centaurus but the mall management later terminated the deal.

In the petition, it contended before IHC that in 2009, negotiations with Pak Gulf Construction had been advanced and the latter had started using Cinepax in its marketing campaigns.

It maintained that after the final agreement was reached on January 26, 2012, Pak Gulf started using delaying tactics in executing a formal lease document within sixty days.

In the meantime, Cinepax came to know that Pak Gulf was considering the lease to a third party.

On February 13, 2012, Cinepax received a termination letter from the Pak Gulf which stated that the construction company had decided to enter an agreement with the third party, Mandviwala Entertainment.

The petition is still pending in the IHC.

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