‘Illegal construction’ on Grand Hyatt land may be regularized

‘Illegal construction’ on Grand Hyatt land may be regularized


ISLAMABAD: A high-level committee constituted to compensate the owners of luxury apartments in the controversial Grand Hyatt is considering various options, such as regularising the project or paying compensation to the affected buyers.

Headed by Attorney General Ashatar Ausaf Ali, the body has sought input from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) over a plan to regularise the lease of a multi-billion rupee plot to M/s BNP, which had been declared illegal by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

In March this year, IHC Justice Athar Minallah declared the construction of luxury apartments on land meant for the luxury Grand Hyatt Hotel “illegal” and upheld the CDA’s move to cancel the lease of the 13.5-acre plot.

The judge held that the “construction of residential apartments on the plot and the purported sale thereof was illegal, void and in flagrant abuse and violation of CDA Ordinance 1960 read with the zoning regulations, building regulations and the building control regulations”.

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In a subsequent hearing of a petition filed by the affected buyers, the court held the former CDA chairman and board members responsible for this negligence and directed the interior ministry to take action against the officials responsible.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) registered an FIR in May against former CDA chairman Kamran Lashari and seven other senior officials, as well as BNP CEO Abdul Hafeez Pasha.

Justice Minallah then constituted a committee consisting of the attorney general and the secretaries of cabinet division, capital administration and development division (CADD), law and justice and the CDA chairman to consider the matter.

Affected buyers include such names as PTI Chairman Imran Khan, ex-State Bank governor Ashraf Wathra, ex-Pemra Chairman Absar Alam, former CJP Nasirul Mulk, ex-LHC chief justice Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, Minister Jam Kamal Khan, former naval chief Mohammad Asif Sandila, former foreign secretary Salman Bashir and retired Lt Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat, television personality Faryal Gauhar, former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani, former defence minister Ahmed Mukhtar, the son of the incumbent defence minister Khawaja Mohammad Asad, politician Kashmala Tariq, and Saqib Barjees, the son of federal minister Barjees Tahir.

The compensation committee chaired by the CADD secretary also co-opted the finance secretary and FIA director general as members and held eight meetings to examine buyers’ claims from May to November.

But the prime minister constituted another committee on Nov 16 and appointed Ashtar Ausaf as its chairman. Subsequently, CADD issued a notification explaining that “the committee constituted earlier on the directions of Islamabad High Court… had ceased to function on the orders of the prime minister”.

The new committee realigned its priorities and brought the regularisation of the lease to the top of its agenda.

The minutes of a meeting convened at the attorney general’s office on Dec 14, 2017, stated: “whether the compensation is the only aspect of the matter that the committee is considering or whether regularization of the irregularities and compounding of fine is possible?”

When contacted, the BNP CEO told Dawn he was not aware of any suggestion to regularise the case, and said that an appeal against the IHC single bench order was currently pending adjudication.

Mayor and CDA Chairman Anser Aziz, who is also a member of compensation committee, admitted that regularisation was one of the options being considered, adding that the committee would submit its recommendations to the court after completing all legal formalities.

courtesy- Dawn news 

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