ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Monday overruled an administrative objection to a petition filed by the PTI against Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) raid on its central secretariat.

Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz rejected the objection raised by the IHC registrar office on the grounds that petition was filed without due authorisation. The plea was moved by PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub through Advocate Shoaib Shaheen.

The court was set to hear arguments on the petition starting Tuesday (today), but due to the public holiday declared by the federal government to observe Youm-i-Takbeer, the IHC will also remain closed.

The Cabinet Division issued a notification on Monday stating that the prime minister has declared May 28 (the day Pakistan became a nuclear power in 1998) as a public holiday throughout the country.

Party had challenged CDA raid on its central secretariat in capital

Subsequently, the chief justice of Pakistan also ordered observing May 28 as court holiday. Likewise, the IHC issued a notification stating that “the Hon’ble Chief Justice of this Court has been pleased to declare that the Islamabad High Court and Sessions Courts (East & West), Islamabad, shall observe public holiday on May 28, 2024”.

According to a court official, hearing on the PTI petition will be rescheduled accordingly.

The CDA had last week demolished what it claimed were the encroachments and sealed the PTI secretariat.

In its petition, PTI termed the operation and sealing of its secretariat at Sector G-8/4, Islamabad “without having lawful authority, mala fidely, political victimisation, without adopting due process of law and contrary to the provisions as enunciated under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973”.

As per the petition, Arshad Dad and Naseem ur Rehman, both members of the PTI Central Finance Board, through an agreement dated July 17, 2020, purchased commercial plot No.1-A, measuring/size 30X48, 160 square yards situated at Shopping Centre, Sector G-8/4-2, Islamabad, from Sartaj Ali.

Sartaj Ali, the seller then wrote a letter dated July 29, 2020, to the Capital Development Authority for transfer of allotment of plot. The CDA, vide letter dated July 30, 2020, after considering the request, allotted/transferred the plot in the name of PTI.

However, on May 23, 2024, at about 11:15pm, the petitioner through electronic media came to know that the CDA in connivance with Islamabad police, was demolishing the PTI’s head office situated at the said plot.

When the petitioner asked the CDA and police officials to show any order or notice pertaining to encroachment which had ever been issued to him, the CDA and police officials, instead of paying the heed towards petitioner’s request for showing any order or notice, started demolishing the PTI’s head office, which is illegal, stated the petition.

It added that after sealing and demolishing the certain area of PTI’s head office, the CDA and police officials made a statement before media persons that PTI is not the owner of the plot, but it belonged to Sartaj Ali, son of Aziz Ur Rehman and, therefore, notice was issued to him, which is contrary to the letter dated July 30, 2020, issued by the CDA, wherein it has been clearly mentioned that the said plot is allotted/transferred in the name of PTI.

The petition requested the court to declare the CDA action illegal.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2024

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