Quaid-i-Azam University moves court against cabinet decision on Bhara Kahu project

Published December 6, 2022
A file photo of Quaid-i-Azam University. — Creative commons/File
A file photo of Quaid-i-Azam University. — Creative commons/File

ISLAMABAD: The administration of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on Monday moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against a decision of the federal cabinet over the Bhara Kahu bypass project, asking the court to set it aside for being “illegal, unlawful, [and] without authority”.

The QAU approached the court against the decision a day before the final arguments on the petition of the university’s faculty members who had sought the court’s intervention against the Bhara Kahu project which would result in the bifurcation of the campus.

As a result of the petition by the faculty members, the matter had been referred to the federal cabinet which subsequently approved recommendations of a subcommittee to resolve the dispute between the civic body and the varsity over the project.

The subcommittee had recommended that the CDA be directed to fulfill its commitments vis-à-vis QAU, enlisted in minutes of meeting dated Oct 21, 2022, of the syndicate of the university as subsequently reformulated by the cabinet committee as per applicable law, ruled and regulations.

Plea accuses CDA of intimidation, says agreement with civic body not ‘valid’ anymore

A report was also submitted to the IHC during a hearing last week.

QAU plea

In its petition, the QAU challenged the cabinet decision and asked the IHC to “declare the decision of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Board in the meeting held on June 17, 2022 regarding construction of Bhara Kahu bypass through the land of Quaid-i-Azam University and subsequently, the decision taken by the federal cabinet dated Nov 30, 2022 on the same matter may be declared illegal, unlawful, without authority and same may be set aside”.

It pointed out that the report of the said committee misquoted the vice chancellor and the registrar of the university that they have no objections regarding the “reformulated demands”.

The petition said the CDA since the start of this project was busy bulldozing the sanctity of the varsity and had been imposing the terms in a unilateral manner.

It also accused the civic body of intimidating the university with threats of lease cancellation, recovery of annual ground rent, and an exaggerated amount of lease renewal.

“The CDA continued digging of land and batching work on the premises of QU despite injunctive orders of the Honorable Islamabad High Court,” the petition said, adding that since the CDA did not fulfill its commitment therefore the agreement with the civic agency was no more valid.

According to the petition, the university was in Zone-III which makes it a part of the National Park.

Later on, the CDA illegally moved it to Zone-I and this illegality was also mentioned in the judgement of the IHC. The petition said that the QAU offered an alternate proposal for the construction of the bypass but this was not considered by the relevant authorities.

It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sept 30 laid the foundation stone of the Bhara Kahu bypass and directed the National Logistics Cell (NLC) to complete the project in three months.

The 5km-long road (including a 1-km flyover) will start from Murree Road near QAU stop and culminate on Murree Road near the Jugi bus stop adjacent to Punjab Cash and Carry from where a flyover will begin which will end outside Bhara Kahu bazaar towards Murree.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2022

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