PESHAWAR, June 27: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday ordered the relevant authorities to produce the record of the award of the University Town Club’s spacious land to two people on a 33 years lease as well as the construction of a restaurant and a café on it.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Mian Fasihul Mulk also ordered a ban on the entry of non-members to the premises and modification and renovation of the restaurant.
The orders were issued during the hearing into two identical writ petitions, which challenged the leasing out of the said land to the two people and carrying out of commercial activities in the residential area.
One petition is filed by deputy attorney general Mohammad Khursheed Khan and the other by several residents of University Town, including Dr Muqeem Khilji and members of Ladies Club situated adjacent to the Dewan-i-Khas restaurant and the Coffee Pot café.Scores of the civil society members also showed up in support of petitioners.
Senior advocate Abdul Lateef Afridi submitted power of attorney on behalf of the two lessees and requested the court to adjourn the hearing.
Tariq Afridi and Khursheed Khan, who appeared for the petitioners, said the leasing out of around 14 kanals of land to the lessees was illegal.
Mr Khursheed pointed out that he had filed a contempt of court petition against the relevant town municipal officer for violating an earlier order of the court by allowing commercial activities in residential area.
He said an earlier order of the court of September 4, 2006, had been violated as in that verdict the court had pronounced that commercial activities could not be carried out in residential area.
The bench adjourned the hearing to the third week of July and observed that the contempt of court application would also be taken up for hearing with the two petitions.
Mr Khursheed said irrelevant persons and non-members had been freely roaming on the premises of the club due to the presence of the restaurant and café. He requested the court to ban entry of non-members to the premises.
The petitioners said the University Town Club comprised the Ladies Club, tennis and squash courts, walking track and green belt and that in 2009 the town administration leased out 14 kanals of land of the club to Faiz Rasool and Tariq Nawaz.
The petitioners alleged that two were in fact front men of an influential political family of Peshawar.
They said the club was meant for recreation of the inhabitants of University Town, especially women.
The petitioners said the relevant persons converted the green belt and the land into the Dewan-i-Khas restaurant and the Coffee Pot café. He added the said commercial infrastructures had also become a security threat in the locality.
The petitioners claimed that in 1952 when the University Town was planned, all residents, who bought plots, were asked to pay for the land n park Road to be used as common land to be used for meetings, recreational activities, charity events, funerals, etc and later on for various sports.
In 1976, they said, the place had been the office and meeting place for the only ladies club in Peshawar and in 1999, a walking track was developed for the elderly residents.