ISLAMABAD: A total of 38 affected people in the Grand Hyatt case have filed an appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against its March 3 verdict upholding the cancellation of the lease for the plot meant for the aforementioned hotel.

The affected people are the buyers of service apartments in the luxury hotel. Last year, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) cancelled the lease to BNP.

IHC Justice Athar Minallah issued a 48-page judgement on petitions filed by BNP, the builder of the Grand Hyatt and twin residential high-rises, and the buyers of the residential apartments against the cancellation of the lease of the 13.5 acre plot adjacent to the Convention Centre.

In his verdict, Justice Minallah observed that there were a series of violations in the project, and noted a number of relaxations extended to the builders by the CDA.

The affected people, on the other hand, adopted that they were unaware of any irregularities in the project and were bona fide buyers of the apartments.

They criticised the CDA for leniency towards the Centaurus and Safa Gold shopping malls, as well as the Marriott and Serena hotels and the Silver Oaks building, with regards to the enforcement of its bylaws.

The appeal highlighted that the CDA allowed several relaxations by way of post-bid changes, including giving the builders of Centaurus – Pak Gulf Construction – an additional 3,000 square yards of land and allowing 42 storeys to be built instead of the originally proposed 20 storeys.

The scope of the aforementioned project originally included 200 apartments, a shopping mall and a luxury hotel. However, the project today includes a shopping mall, an office tower, two towers of 400 units of serviced apartments that have been constructed and are occupied by apparent buyers, the appeal said.

It also alleged that the Centaurus project was permitted in absence of transparency and in violation of mandatory provisions of the law.

The appeal also claimed that last year, the CDA sealed the Safa Gold Mall after various violations in the construction of the building – such as the addition of storeys that had not been approved. It said the CDA unsealed the premises upon a court order even though the mall’s management did not obtain a completion certificate.

The affected people asked the court to direct the CDA to take action against other buildings as it did in the case of the Grand Hyatt towers, and to set aside the March 3 judgement because it would cause an irreparable loss to the buyers.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2017

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