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ISLAMABAD, July 5: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday  extended a restraining order against the announcement that the residents of Sector G-14 would be compensated for their existing property, also referred to as “built-up property” (BuP).

The court directed the Pakistan Public Works Department (PWD) to respond to the petition filed by G-14 residents.

On May 9, the Court restrained the Land Acquisition Controller (LAC) of the Islamabad Capital Territory administration from compensating the affected villagers of Thalla Syeddan, located in sector G-14.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC resumed the case hearing where Nayab Hassan Gardezi, counsel of the LAC, told the court that the residents’ petition could not be entertained as the compensation for built-up property has yet to be awarded, and the residents cannot challenge the process based on mere assumptions.

He said that under Sections 9 and 18 of the LAC act, residents could file their objections and challenge the LAC in the civil court after issuing a formal notification of the compensation award.

He claimed that a list of the residents, also known as “affected persons” was prepared after due consideration and based on the recommendations of the affected persons committee of the villages in sector G-14. The departments conducted a thorough survey of the area, and after completing all the formalities, the list was prepared.

According to advocate Gardezi, the process can only be challenged in the civil court because it is based solely on facts, and the claim of the petitioners is inconsistent with the documentation provided by the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF), as well as the LAC’s records.

Petitioner Mohammad Riaz Sagar, along with several other petitioners, told the court that the authorities of the Ministry of Housing and Works; interior ministry; Pak PWD; and FGEHF, formed a committee to question the claims of G-14 residents through their advocate, Niazullah Niazi.

The petitioners’ counsel said some locals were also a part of the scrutiny committee which confirmed the claims of 1,152 villagers. He said the government decided to compensate the villagers at the rate of Rs1,300 per sq ft to Rs1,200 per sq ft.

He alleged that the minister for housing, Faisal Saleh Hayat, then ordered a “built-up property survey” to the officials of Pak PWD and FGEHF in which 788 cases in G-14 were confirmed.

He said the list of the affected persons – put together by the LAC, PWD and FGEHF – all vary from each other, indicating that false names were created and included in the lists.

According to the FGEHF’s response to the court, some names of property owners of the BuP were completely fabricated, and therefore, their claims were illegal.

The response also included that the federal government was obligated, by law, to financially compensate the old inhabitants of the sector, as well as develop the plots of land.

The hearing has been adjourned until the last week of July.