ALFATAH SEALED!

32
337

After a year of inaction against plazas for violating building bylaws, Lahore Development Authority (LDA) on Friday woke from its slumber to raise political controversy by sealing Alfatah Store on the charge of violating building by-laws. Eyebrows were raised since the LDA action came after Alfatah store owner Irfan Iqbal Sheikh announced his decision to join Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), emerging rival of Punjab’s ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Change of loyalty, end of privileges: LDA sources said while the Alfatah Store management had constructed illegal structures in the basement and adjoining buildings, the store management’s amicable relations with PML-N meant LDA action was put on ice. Sources said the LDA had served Alfatah notices as per routine but had restrained action against the store. However, after the Alfatah owner pledged loyalty to Imran Khan, the decision to seal the store was taken.
After Friday prayers, PTI workers and Liberty Market businessmen in the proximity of LDA-built controversial Park and Ride Plaza, a case against which is still pending in court, led a protest against the sealing of Alfatah. Protesters besieged liberty roundabout and chanted slogans against the Punjab government for ‘revenge politics’ and providing no reasons for sealing the store. Protestors later unlocked the LDA seals and challenged authorities’ tit-for-tat. The protest was organised by Insaf Traders Wing (ITW) and PTI office-bearers, including PTI Lahore President Mian Mahmood-ur-Rashid, PTI’s Information Department Chief Ishtiaq Malik and ITW President Mustafa Rashid participated. Liberty Police Station registered case number 58/59 under Section 290-291 against Alfatah owner Irfan Iqbal Sheikh and 80 unidentified persons for protest and blocking the main road.
‘This is political victimisation’: Speaking to Pakistan Today, Alfatah owner Irfan Sheikh said the DCO Lahore had closed his store in the morning in an act of political victimization. He said the PML-N had victimised him for exercising his democratic right to choose a party. He said his store had operated in Liberty Market for decades, but neither the LDA nor another government department had raised objections on the question of the violation of building bylaws. He said no government department had ever issued a notice to the store management before sealing it. All-Pakistan Anjuman Tajiraan, Gulberg Traders Board, Hafeez Centre and Azam Cloth Market Traders and other traders associations joined the call for the government to undo its action immediately.
Alfatah’s building law violations: Officially, LDA Town Planning Wing staff sealed Alfatah Store, Commercial Zone, Gulberg III, for committing six building bylaws violations and failure to remove the illegal encroachments despite being served multiple notices by LDA. The High Rise Commission, appointed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, had, after inspecting the structure, directed the demolition of Alfatah’s unauthorised constructions.
The LDA identified the following irregularities at the site;
(1) Illegal extension of basement under the front arcades to include extra space within the store. This is a non-compoundable illegality. The construction must be removed.
(2) Illegal extension/attachment of basement to two adjacent plazas, property 52 and 53, commercial zone, Gulberg III, against the sanctioned plan and without LDA approval.
(3) Building projected onto road side from first to top floor. The projection must be removed.
(4) Steel structure projection to create balcony and electric sub-station in rear balcony towards the road has to be removed.
(5) Arcades on front side raised which must be brought to normal level.
(6) Encroaching rear arcade by constructing wall and placing generator. Both must be removed.
LDA officials said the Alfatah building caught fire a few years ago causing huge losses. They said the LDA had served many notices to the owners to remove the building bylaw violations but to no avail and therefore the LDA took legal action on Friday to seal the building.
History: After the Margala Tower collapse in 2005, a 3-member Supreme Court commission comprising Justice (r) Riaz Kayani, architect Kamal Khan and UET VC nominee Tahir Ahmad identified over 1,100 high-rises violating building bylaws in 2009. Some 724 buildings were inspected in LDA-controlled area and recommended action against 551 buildings, including 149 total demolitions and 402 partial demolitions.
However, when former LDA director general Umer Rasool submitted his application to register corruption cases against building owners and LDA officials, figures were fudged, and the application claimed the SC commission had inspected 450 buildings, not 724 buildings.
The application reduced the number of recommended buildings from 551 to 291, with 214 partial and 77 total demolitions approved. LDA sources attribute the difference between the SC recommended 551 and LDA DG approved 291 buildings to a clandestine deal to protect the owners of 260 plazas.

SIX VIOLATIONS THAT SEALED ALFATAH:
1- Basement extended under front arcades
2- Basement extended into adjacent plazas without LDA approval
3- Building projected onto road side from first to top floor
4- Steel structure projection to create balcony, place electric sub-station in rear balcony
5- Arcades on front side raised
6- Encroaching rear arcade by constructing wall and placing generator.

32 COMMENTS

  1. so now all store owner has to do is switch loyalties to PML-N to have all these changes dropped. LOL… enough is enough Sharif brothers we have had enough of your stupidities. on your way out, please shut the door.

  2. these jahil nalaiq leaguers are worst than a dictator. I remember that they did the same thing in 1999, by attacking on supreme court and by arresting journalists belonging to jang group…….

    • Why do the PTI workers protest against the sealing of Alfatah store when Imran Khan promised to cleanse Pakistan of corruption.

      • Dear,
        The question is, why wasn't this corruption case brought up when owner was in PML-N party?
        I totally agree, we have to get rid of these corrupt cases but actions taken only when someone joins opposition is rather substantially embarrassing.
        I wonder, how many illegal buildings are still there, owners of whom are backed up by PML-N?

  3. You all who commenting here plz tell me whether that store was consrructed according to the building by laws ,if yes then LDA action is unlawful if not then why are you all saying its not good

  4. Not in favor of political harrassment, however the even scarier part is that both side of the story are sad. I am pretty sure that LDA allegations are correct as per the law. If LDA is corrupt and wasn't taking action then Al Fatah store owners are equally corrupt because A) they knowingly broke the law, B) they would have been making people at LDA happy some how or the other, maybe by the connections with PMLN and this act itself is act of corruption. Corrupt people, get corrupt leadership, it's not the other way around.

  5. It has to be an Equal Treatment for every citizen of Pakistan. If they demolished the other 400 Plazas they have a right to demolish Al Fatah too… otherwise it is just Political victimization.

    • Also, Zardari didn't collected money at swiss bank today… so we should also release him from all alegations 🙁

  6. The moral of the story is if you are a Sharif supporter, no Court order against you will be implemented and everybody will keep mum. But if you join any opponent of Sharif brothers, then you are in trouble. Owners of Alfatah store should have known this. The case of Ahad Malik should not have been ignored. After all, Sharif brothers are followers of Zia, the despot.

  7. All SIX VIOLATIONS are nothing more then a bull shit, the main reason is Mr. Sheikh Irfan Iqbal annouce to join Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf and on reaction of this the so could Khadm e Ala in real the Dram e Ala orders to seal the building.

  8. And what about Rana Sanullah Plaza in Lahore. The law should be equal for all otherwise discrimination will not make any sense.

  9. shame….if n since they were wrong the action should have been taken earlier…it wouldnt have been an issue then!

  10. Everyone sitting here knows that alleged violations are false … awsome! PTI should set the standards high, which it purports to do so, and follow the rules. Why cry that 400 other plazas are illegal and should be demolished first.

  11. The main question is "Is there a violation or not?" if yes and even if it has been brought into limelight now its a violation either the owner is with any political party. Now no one has the right to complain about it. Go to the court and present your case. Do not blame it on any political decision.
    I totally support the decision and would like to see such action for all the other property and business owners who are violating the rules and regulations.

  12. This action is 100% correct, construction was illegal and that whole road is always blocked because of alfatah, if someone have some emergency, one cant cross that area due to traffic at alfaatah, it does not seem to be a normal road but looks like alfatahs parking area. So thanks God its sealed.

  13. in this instance too real culpritsare govt agencies like LDA. they let people do to do unlawful constructions, may be residential or commercial, for their vested interest. If govt is serious that this unlawful constructions may not take place, they should sack /punish those officials, then no unlawful construction will take place. it is ridiculous to demolish constructed buildings, a great business loss and hence great national loss.

  14. noora league apney awqat par agai….!!!! besharumi our munafiqt ki bhi koyee had hoti hain!!!! political victimization and harassment of the innocent citizens is on their top priority….at the moment…no wonder they dont resign..!!!

  15. Well. I wish pakistan’s politics should come out of blame game. I believe PTI should Investigate themselves. If they find the man guilty then they should themselves to force the person to trim down otherwise they should take the Punjab Government to task instead of Just crying foul.

  16. Alfatah has been there for decades. My support for Irfan. Little known fact…the First Lady (Mrs. Gillani) is a close friend and former avid shopper at Alfatah. Wonder why she didn’t come to his rescue….hmmm

  17. LOL all you morons miss the purpose of this story, although Sharif brothers are exposed, so are the PTI, if these allegations are correct then PTI is no better than the Sharif brothers either since they are also doing the same trickery by supporting the owner of the shop for supporting PTI despite building violations. How ironic, nothings going to change, people will remain stupid and biased, PTI would have had my respect if it had supported the seal down and took the LDA's ommision of this issue to the court for penalization. Much said i guess.

  18. What a shame these politician just don’t learn from their previous mistake generally the public is to blame for this mess for not selecting the person who is loyal to his country

Comments are closed.