ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has warned the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) of forfeiting its right of audience if no one appears before the court on its behalf on May 5.
IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb issued the order while hearing the petition of allottees of DHA Valley – an unfinished joint venture of DHA, Bahria Town and Habib Rafique Limited – asking the authority’s administration to file a reply within a fortnight.
The project was signed on August 16, 2008, and the signatories were the then DHA administrator, retired Brig Javed Iqbal, Malik Riaz of Bahria Town and Zahid Rafique from Habib Rafique Limited.
The court order said it had almost been one-and-a-half years and respondent no. 1 [DHA] had still not filed written comments. In the event, written comments are not filed prior to the next date of hearing, respondent no. 1 will lose its right to respond, the order added.
The petitioners adopted before the court that they had cleared all the dues of their plots, and despite a lapse of over a decade, the housing society had not handed them the possession of their plots.
The petition said a few months ago the DHA Valley administration conducted balloting for a few plots and had asked the allottees to deposit Rs350,000 to Rs450,000 under development charges.
The petition requested the court to set aside the development charges and issue direction to allot and hand over plots to the allottees.
The DHA Valley project is one of 50 mega land scam cases NAB had listed before the Supreme Court in 2013. The accountability bureau had informed the court that it was investigating alleged “embezzlement in sale, development and purchase of land”.
According to the NAB report submitted with the apex court, the inquiry was authorised on July 3, 2010, and was scheduled to be completed on Oct 15, 2015. The bureau has estimated that the scam involves 1,310,000 kanals of land.
The DHA Valley project was launched in August 2008 and was supposed to be completed by 2011. However, development is far from completion as the developers have failed to acquire land.
The DHA invited applications from civilians and soldiers, including junior commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers as well as heirs of martyrs.
According to the project, Bahria Town and Habib Rafique were responsible for acquiring and developing over 40,000 kanals for DHA Valley near Phase II of DHA Extension in Islamabad. Following the launch of the project in 2008, about 110,000 civilians and 41,000 defence personnel applied in the scheme.
After the application process was complete, members of DHA Valley started paying installments with regular intervals. After the 12th installment, the authority was bound to hand over possession of the plots to the members. However on September 2011, when the members were about to pay their last installment, the DHA issued an advertisement and restrained them from depositing the last installment till further orders.
Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2021