LHC reserves verdict on parking plaza, theatre at Doongi Ground


A five-member bench of the Lahore High Court on Monday reserved its verdict on petitions against construction of car parking plaza and IMAX theatre at Doongi Ground in Mini Market Gulberg. The bench comprising LHC Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh and Justice Asad Munir was hearing the petitions filed by Karachi-based NGO, Citizens for Better Environment (CBE), journalist Ardshir Cowasji, a public litigation firm, Muhammad & Ahmad, and 11 residents of the area. Earlier, the Punjab Entertainment Company’s through its counsel Salman Akram Raja moved an application for allowing construction of car parking plaza, bowling alley and gymnasium on the ground. On Monday, Raja submitted that since millions of rupees had been spent on this project and now the nature of use had been restricted to car parking plaza, bowling alley and gymnasium, so that building might be allowed to be preserved. He said that it would be constructed on 18 percent of total land and Rs 440 million would be spent more on its construction.
However, Justice Saeed observed that if the court allowed conversion of amenity plot for such use then following these principles, other grounds might be used for such purpose. However, the counsel replied that the Supreme Court also allowed to preserve the construction made in F-9 Park, Islamabad. The petitioner’s counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique pointed out that the SC allowed to retain the construction in said case as it was under the master plan. He told the court that earlier the Punjab government was not admitting the fact that it was a ground and now if the court allowed the construction of parking plaza then hockey, cricket and other games could not be played on the said ground. He said that the real purpose was to cover money spent on construction of IMAX theatre. The CJ said that since the government was accepting that it was a ground, therefore, the constructed area could be saved.
On August 8, 2006, a single bench of the LHC had stopped the provincial government and the Punjab Entertainment Company (PEC) from further construction of the complex. The stay order was vacated on March 9 last 2007 by LHC division bench and work resumed. However, the petitioners moved another petition in the SC, which had stopped the work again and referred the case to LHC. Azhar submitted that the court should review whether the parks could be used for other purposes and the same was according to laws of Lahore Development Authority, Land Regulation Act and the directions passed by the SC in the matter. After hearing the arguments, the bench reserved its decision. LHC gives services of 5 judicial officers to IHC: The Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice (CJ) placed the services of five judicial officers at the disposal of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday.
According to a notification issued by the LHC registrar, the decision was made after consultation with the IHC CJ for posting of the judicial officers in Islamabad. The officers included Bahawalpur Anti-Terrorism Court-1 District and Session Judge (D&SJ)/ Judge Habibullah Amir, Vehari Additional D&SJ Pervez Ismail, Mianwali addl D&SJ Muhammad Yar Gondal, Pakpattan Sharif addl D&SJ Wajahat Hasan and Pakpattan Sharif Civil judge Class-1Usman Ali Awan. The officers shall stand repatriated to the LHC after consultation with the IHC CJ later, when required.