IHC issues conditional orders to de-seal Safa Mall

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Islamabad High Court (IHC), while issuing the conditional order to de-seal Safa Gold Mall -a shopping plaza located in Jinnah Supermarket Islamabad, issued directions to the owner of the plaza to pay outstanding government dues amounting to Rs 220 million in a week.

The court has ordered to submit security equal to the imposed penalty on the delay of payment of the government dues. A single bench headed by Justice Amir Farooq conducted the hearing. Advocate Syed Zulfiqar and Mudassar Malik from Safa Gold Mall and the counsel from CDA appeared before the court. CDA’s counsel informed the court that shopping plaza has been sealed due to nonpayment of government dues and illegal construction, adding that several notices have been served in this regard. “But the management of shopping plaza did not reply in a befitting manner,” he said.

Later, the court issued a conditional order of de-sealing of the plaza and, alongside that, the court issued directions to remove the encroachments outside plaza and to vacate both the basements of the plaza which are allotted for parking.

It was vital to mention here that the shopping plaza was sealed on Thursday owing to nonpayment of outstanding dues and illegal constructions. The owners of the plaza were entitled to construct only seven stories of this plaza as per building by-laws, and on the other hand construction of the eighth storey was underway in this plaza without obtaining any permission from the concerned authorities. Furthermore, outstanding dues to the tune of Rs 70 million were also payable by the owners of this plaza.

The plaza was sealed under the supervision of director building control and area magistrate. Earlier, a director of CDA was caught red-handed for taking a bribe from Safa Mall management in connection with illegal constructions and change in the map. Estate Commercials Director Iftikhar Ali Chaudhry was arrested by NAB on December 1, 2015, for receiving bribe amounting to Rs 5 million from Abdul Qayyum Rana, owner of Safa Gold Mall, for allowing him to raise illegal construction and changing the map.

Director Iftikhar Ali had assured Safa Gold Mall administration in return for huge kickbacks that no action would be taken against them by the CDA for the change in the map and illegal constructions. The plaza administration would be provided full protection by CDA in official documents. The NAB on the other hand, not only recovered bribed money of Rs 5 million by taking a timely action but also arrested the CDA director red-handed. Director CDA is still under NAB’s custody and he has not been granted a bail so far.