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Contempt of court: Defense secretary, DHA put on notice for converting amenity land - Printable Version

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Contempt of court: Defense secretary, DHA put on notice for converting amenity land - Salman - 03-19-2014 02:56 PM

Contempt of court: Defense secretary, DHA put on notice for converting amenity land

ARACHI: The court has issued contempt notices to the defense secretary, the Defence Housing Authority and the Cantonment Board Clifton for allegedly defying the court orders to save 3,600 square yards of amenity land on Zamzama from being used for commercial purposes.
The bench has called comments from the defense secretary Lt General (retd) Asif Yasin Malik, DHA administrator Brig Muhammad Abdullah and CBC CEO Adil Rafi Siddiqui before April 3. The bench issued notices on an application filed by Barrister Waleed Khanzada, who sought the initiation of contempt proceedings against the respondents for allegedly not complying with the December 2013 order of the court.

Last year, Khanzada, who is a resident of Zamzama, had gone to the court to seek the enforcement of the fundamental rights of citizens protected under Articles 4, 9 and 26 of the Constitution. He had pleaded to the court to declare the conversion of the 3,600 square yards of land from amenity to commercial, for the construction of a cinema, bowling alley and gaming zone, as illegal.
In his plea, he said the DHA and the M/s Mall Developers had signed off on an agreement on July 17, 1987, to construct commercial flats on the plot, known as Zam-I. The plot is spread across 8,000 square yards. According to clause-2 of the agreement, Khanzada pointed out that the builder was supposed to raise constructions as part of its project, Mall Square, over 70 per cent of the land while the rest of the land would be used for amenity purposes, such as roads and public parks, for the residents of the flats.
The petitioner submitted that the builder failed to leave 30 per cent mandatory space for amenity purposes and subsequently, the DHA made an additional allotment of 3,600 square yards, reserved for the DHA Park, to the builder in sheer violation of the building laws. “The change of amenity land for commercial use is unlawful,” he claimed.
He had pleaded the court declare the allotment of the excessive 3,600 square yards to the builder by the DHA as illegal. The court was also requested to restrain the commercial constructions on the park’s land. The bench, which had allowed the petition after hearing the relevant parties at length, had ordered the respondents to protect the land from being used for commercial purposes.
Barrister Khanzada, once again approached the court, saying that the respondents have failed to comply with the court’s order which was duly communicated to them for implementation in letter and spirit. They have failed to protect the amenity land, which amounts to willfully and deliberately committing contempt of the court. He pleaded to the court to initiate contempt proceedings.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2014.