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McDonald`s comeback in danger

December 31, 2010


ISLAMABAD, Dec 30: The future of McDonald's outlet in Fatima Jinnah Park seems in danger again, as the petitioner who had first challenged the establishment of the restaurant in the park is filing a fresh civil miscellaneous petition against its comeback.

“I am going to file a petition on Saturday because the violation of use of park is still there,” said former Senator Sadia Abbasi who had first taken up the issue in Supreme Court four years back.

She decided to move the court again after the management of McDonald's won the lease of same 6,000 square yards of land inside the park for another 33 years to resume its business on Wednesday. The outlet was closed down on the directives of the apex court last year.

“Neither have I any objection on the decision of the apex court nor am I going to oppose it but I would definitely stand by my previous stance that there should be no commercial activity inside the public park,” she said.

The former senator believed that the CDA had not implemented the orders of the apex court in letter and spirit and paved the way for the same McDonald's franchise holder to reopen its outlet in the park and resume its business on almost the same terms it was following before the closure of the restaurant last month.

Analysts believed that the whole efforts of the Supreme Court, the petitioner and the department concerned were back to the square one as the same McDonald's management - Siza Food - had won the lease again for 33 years extendable for two terms under which it would pay monthly rent of Rs1,300,000 or five per cent of the gross sale of the fast food outlet which ever was higher.

“Question arises here that what difference has been made in the previously run restaurant and that which will be reopened now. It is going to be run on the same place inside the park and on the same piece of land,” Ms Abbasi said.

She also questioned that why the non-functional outlet of McDonald's had not been demolished despite court order.

Interestingly McDonald's franchise holder re-clinched the lease of land of the fast food on almost the same rent/rental terms it was paying and following before its closure on the orders of Supreme Court last month after the apex court had observed some irregularities in the previous lease and that it was inside the park area.

Later, the court softened its stance allowing the CDA to establish a fast food in the same area provide this area was declared a proper cuisine site.

Analysts had already predicted that McDonald's franchise holder was in a better position to file highest bid as it had run the outlet in the park for more than three years (from 2006-2010).