ISLAMABAD - Legal fraternity, litigants, judges of lower courts and thousands of traders and residents of F-8 Markaz have taken a sigh of relief after the announcement of earth-breaking ceremony of new building for the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

It has been a longstanding demand of lawyers, business community and residents of Sector F-8 to relocate district courts Islamabad from F-8 Markaz to the judicial complex in Sector G-10 where currently Islamabad High Court is housing.

It is pertinent to mention here that the earth-breaking ceremony of new building of IHC will be held on November 5 at Constitution Avenue near Foreign Office. Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary will be chief guest on this occasion.

Talking to The Nation, President District Bar Association (DBA) Dr Syed Anwar Shah said that this announcement has caused a wave of satisfaction and happiness among the legal fraternity and traders as well.

He expressed his hope that district courts would soon be shifted to the judicial complex, which will end a long tussle between lawyers and traders.

Media coordinator of DBA Chaudhary Khalid Advocate told that scuffle between the two communities had continued since 1980 when only four lawyers came to Islamabad from Rawalpindi and tried to build their chambers in F-8 Markaz but traders resisted their attempt.

He further informed that many lawyers and traders also sustained injuries many times during these brawls.

In this connection, the lawyers have also moved a petition seeking relocation of Islamabad district courts from sector F-8 Markaz to the building of Islamabad High Court (IHC) in Sector G-10/1. The petitioner was former vice-president Islamabad Bar Association Chaudhry Mohammad Akram who contended that the building was originally constructed for the district courts.

He stated in the petition that the 1960 master plan of Islamabad did not allocate space for the lower courts and they have been operating in the makeshift arrangements since then.

In 2005, the government planned to shift the lower courts to newly-constructed district court complex, but the devastating October earthquake forced the government to defer the shifting.

Then, former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf established the Islamabad High Court in 2007 and in the absence of a proper building for the high court it was allowed to use the district courts complex.

The petition said that the IHC continued operating in the district courts complex despite the fact that over the years the size of lower judiciary increased manifold and the present space is not enough to cater to the requirement of the subordinate judiciary.

Referring to the recent lawyers-judges tussle in the district courts over the construction of chambers, Chaudhary Akram said that unless the root-cause of the strife is not addressed and the district courts are not shifted to their original location, these types of unwanted incidents would continue to happen.

According to him, insecure environment in the district courts pose a serious threat to the lives of litigants, lawyers and judges and it can only be addressed after the relocation of these courts at a proper place.

It may be mentioned that then Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman had constituted a committee for the shifting of district courts from sector F-8 to the IHC building in June 2011 and also shifting of the IHC to the Constitution Avenue where the CDA had allotted 30-kanal plot for the IHC complex.

Since its establishment in January 2011, the IHC administration has been searching for a suitable site and once planned to shift to the building of National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC), but it had to drop the idea after strong opposition from the IHC bar association.

Later in 2011, the Islamabad lower judiciary was divided into two district and sessions divisions and its size increased from 12 Judges to 50 and about 50 more Judges would likely to be inducted in the coming months.

Therefore, lawyers and traders particularly welcomed the decision and hoped that new building of IHC will be completed soon which would also help in shifting of district court from F-8 Markaz to Sector G-10.