SC Questions Lack Of Action Against Illegal Construction In Bani Gala

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A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, continued hearing the suo moto notice regarding illegal development of land in the Bani Gala area.

The case had been brought to the court’s notice by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.

On Wednesday, highlighting what he termed a ‘breach of confidentiality’ by the respondents, Khan’s lawyer, Babar Awan, pointed out to the court that: “The reports submitted to the courts yesterday were handed to the media beforehand.”

In a report submitted to the apex court on Tuesday, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had explained that it had surveyed illegal commercial buildings in Bani Gala.

the survey had revealed that 122 illegal or unauthorises buildings that were either still under construction or whose structural work had been completed.

In the report, the CDA had also claimed that Imran Khan’s nearly 40-acre estate is among the buildings that have been “illegally raised” in the Bani Gala area, and recommended that it be demolished.

While the chief justice praised the CDA report in Wednesday’s proceedings, the court had questioned why the CDA and Islamabad administration had failed to act against the illegal developments when they were being constructed.

Representing a resident of Bani Gala, lawyer Zafar Ali Shah said: “It is illegal to construct within two kilometres of Rawal Dam. However, the National Park lies within two kilometres of the dam and has buildings constructed on it.”

“These constructions include the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Convention Center. They all lies within two kilometres of the dam,” Shah stated to the court.

“These buildings should also be considered illegal [by the CDA’s rules].”

“CDA officials used to take bribes for the construction of buildings within two kilometres of the dam,” Shah alleged.

“The CDA has declared 122 houses ‘illegal’, when in fact these houses were constructed after bribing CDA officials themselves,” the counsel claimed.

Responding to Shah’s statements, Chief Justice Nisar expressed his dismay, saying: “These allegations of bribery are embarrassing for us.”

Along with 20-year construction records, the court has now asked for the CDA’s response about the regularisation of legal and illegal constructions.

The next hearing on the case will be in the first week of June

Credit: Dawn

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