LAHORE: Café Aylanto resumed its operations on Tuesday after officials of the district administration and the restaurant management struck a deal on Sunday, a day before the Lahore High Court was supposed to take up the case.
Sources told Pakistan Today that the high-end eatery was “de-sealed” after its owners agreed to withdraw a writ petition that was filed against the district administration and gave a written assurance that there “would be no illegal activity” on the premises.
It may be noted here that the restaurant was sealed in the start of this month after Assistant Commissioner Zeeshan Ranjha along with Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) Masood Bashir Warraich raided the installation and allegedly found alcohol bottles on the premises.
The district administration subsequently sealed the restaurant and arrested over a dozen people, excluding the owners.
An FIR was also registered at the Gulberg Police Station. This deal, however, won’t see the FIR get quashed and the case would “be brought to its logical conclusion by operation of law”.
Sources said the administration had to strike a deal with the owners of the restaurant because the operation had no legal standing.
“This was a case of Excise Department,” the sources said, adding that the AC was way out of his domain when he raided the eatery.
Apparently, the raid was conducted to assuage the Lahore commissioner’s ego who had been refused a table by the restaurant, the sources claimed.
The raid had reportedly cost the ETO his job, who was later made an OSD [officer on special duty]. And now “the Model Town AC is trying to save his skin because he bit more than he could chew,” the sources said.
Pakistan Today made repeated attempts to contact Lahore Commissioner Asif Bilal Lodhi but he remained unavailable.