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ISLAMABAD: A private housing society executed its ‘controversial’ project after obtaining a stay order from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) five years ago, and the stay is still intact.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) cancelled the layout plan of Bahria Enclave, a project of Bahria Town, in 2013. Following this, Bahria Town filed a petition in the IHC.

After hearing the preliminary arguments, IHC Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi granted the stay on July 24, 2013. Neither the court in quite a few subsequent hearings lifted the restraining order nor did the CDA filed a reply to the court in response to the petition of Bahria Town.

In June 2015, the IHC took up the petition but adjourned the hearing without any proceeding.

Only recently, CDA through its legal adviser Kashif Ali Malik submitted a report to the IHC pointing out a number of objections on the Bahria Enclave project. However, it may be too late now as the CDA in its report admitted that over the last a few years the housing society had not only developed the enclave but also sold the plots to individuals.

CDA cancelled layout plan of Bahria Enclave in 2013 after which Bahria Town obtained stay order from IHC that remains intact

The report stated: “Bahria Town is carrying out development work in Bahria Enclave (extension, almost three times larger in size, layout plan whereof has not been approved) even after issuance of show cause notice dated May 24, 2013 wherein it was directed to stop development work at site immediately. The petitioner company [Bahria Town] is carrying out development illegally, after encroaching upon CDA’s precious land for access purpose to the scheme and advertising the scheme in print and electronic media with ulterior motives and thus misguiding the general public.”

The CDA said the petitioner company advertised its project in 2011 illegally just after the launch of CDA’s Park Enclave…and also misled the general public. After that, the petitioner got issued a layout approval letter dated July 16, 2011, in violation of amendments to the Islamabad Zoning Regulations 2010. The approval was, however, withdrawn in 2013.

Bahria Town started the construction work after submitting the engineering design to the CDA and also encroached upon the government land to link the enclave with Park Road.

It may be mentioned that Bahria Enclave badly damaged CDA’s Park Enclave project since it offered plots at almost half of the price of the civic agency’s housing scheme.

Moreover, the CDA report stated that it was mandatory for the housing scheme to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the civic agency before starting the development work.

It said for the issuance of the NOC, a housing society had to meet the mandatory requirements of acquisition of land, inviting objections about the land ownership, approval of a layout plan, mortgage of 20pc saleable area, transfer of amenities land, public notice for information, approval of engineering designs and environment clearance from Pakistan Environment Protection Agency.

But, the report said, Bahria Town started the development work after submitting the engineering design only.

It said Bahria Town did not comply with the orders of the authority and continued with the illegal and unauthorised development of the scheme spreading over 836 kanals and even beyond the layout plan. It even constructed the entrance gate on CDA’s land. When Bahria Town was issued a show-cause notice on May 24, 2013, to stop the construction work it did not comply with the direction. Subsequently, the civic agency cancelled the approval of the layout plan.

The CDA requested the court to dismiss the petition of Bahria Town.

When contacted, Bahria Town’s senior official, retired Colonel Khalid, told Dawn that the housing society would rebut the report after carefully reading it.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2018