KARACHI -  The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday approached the Sindh High Court (SHC) against the provincial government's decision to hand over Bagh Ibne Qasim, the city's iconic park, to Bahria Town for 10 years.

The petition was filed by PTI leader Imran Ismail who has requested the court to issue directives to the provincial authorities to withdraw the notification with regard to transfer of the park to the private property developer. He cited the Sindh chief secretary, local government secretary, Karachi mayor, municipal commissioner, Board of Revenue, and Bahria Town as respondents in his petition.

The petitioner submitted that Bagh Ibne Qasim, which was spread over 130 acres, was visited by over 10 million citizens each year. The facility's turtle pond, greenery, beauty, murals of dinosaurs and its attachment with the heritage site, Jahangir Kothari Parade built on a piece of land donated by Seth Jahangir Hormusji Kothari to the city, attracted a large number of visitors. Ismail informed the court that the Sindh government issued a notification on March 30, handing the park over to a real estate giant, Bahria Town, for ten years for its beautification. The decision was taken to save public funds, but rather it would prove futile and pave way for encroachments on the invaluable public property, he argued.

He said he apprehended that the park might be used for commercial purposes, as it was in close proximity to Bahria Icon Tower project, a 60 storied commercial structure. He said reports were rife that a piece of park would be used by the firm for its commercial activities.

“The provincial authorities disregarded the legal procedure before striking any deal with the firm as it did not invite any offer, bid or expression of interest. Therefore, the notification and agreement in respect of the park was arbitrary, illegal and nullity in the eyes of law and liable to annulled,” the PTI leader said.

The petitioner pleaded the court to declare the Sindh government's agreement with the firm as illegal and direct the authorities to withdraw the notification in this regard.