ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday suspended the no-objection certificate (NOC) issued to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader and senior Punjab minister Aleem Khan for his housing society in the capital.

The court expressed displeasure with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for ‘taking side’ with the minister before suspending the NOC of his Park View City.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed the deputy commissioner Islamabad to assign an assistant commissioner to probe the allegation of encroachment on private land by the developer.

“Till the next date fixed, NOC granted in favour of respondent No 4 i.e. Park View City Housing Society shall not be acted upon,” the court order said.

The court also termed a report submitted by the CDA unsatisfactory. “A report has been submitted by the CDA and the same has not been found to be satisfactory. This court has also observed that the CDA is showing extraordinary interest in this case which is a departure from its conduct in other cases,” the court order read.

IHC chief justice directs deputy commissioner to assign a senior official to probe allegation of encroachment on private land by developer

Justice Minallah observed that “serious allegations have been raised by the petitioners. Admittedly, the land acquisition has not been completed. Respondent No 4 appears to have been authorised by the CDA to evict landowners from their land without being adequately compensated. The CDA is, therefore, required to satisfy this court regarding permission granted to a private profit earning entity i.e. respondent No 4 to construct an access road on land that vests in the CDA under the Capital Development Authority Ordinance 1960 merely to facilitate it for obtaining NOC.”

The housing society has filed written comments and attached the copy of a summary for the CDA Board dated April 24, 2018.

The court noted that apparently the summary had formed the basis of the board’s decision to allow respondent No 4 to use the state land for the purpose of obtaining the NOC and consequently to extend the benefit of the issuance of NOC.

“It, prima facie, appears from the contents of the summary that a misleading impression was given as if a division bench of this court had endorsed the proposal of respondent No 4. Such an impression, prima facie, is not only misleading but the manner in which it was presented could amount to contemptuous misrepresentation,” the court noted.

Justice Minallah observed that due to the CDA’s neglect, cases of land grabbing in the federal capital had increased and in most of the cases the victims were poor and helpless people.

In this particular case, the court directed the deputy commissioner to “nominate an official not lower in rank than an assistant commissioner. The latter after surveying the area where respondent No 4 intends to develop a housing society shall submit a detailed report. The report shall, inter alia, include details of grievances by landowners regarding encroachments, harassment or intimidation.”

The court also sought explanation from the CDA for justifying legality of the summary dated April 24, 2018, which had led to the grant of permission to construct a road on state land and led to the issuance of the NOC.

Further hearing of the matter was adjourned to August 13.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2020