ISLAMABAD -A larger bench of Islamabad High Court on Wednesday conducted hearing in a case related to encroachment by lawyers on a football ground in F-8 district courts.

The 4-member bench comprising Chief Justice of the IHC Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the matter and deferred proceedings till April 29 in this connection.

During the hearing, Member Planning of Capital Development Authority appeared before the court in person. Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that CDA was not fulfilling its duties in this connection.  The IHC Chief Justice directed the CDA to perform its duties as per the law. Despite the court notices, representatives of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Islamabad Bar Council (IBC) did not appear before the court.

In February 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice of the construction of chambers by the district courts lawyers on the football ground. After keeping the matter pending for about 10 months, the apex court referred the matter to the IHC in December 2018.

Former office-bearers of District Bar Association Islamabad had divided the football ground into 5 blocks and named them after themselves.

One of the blocks was named after Naveed Malik, a former president of the association, while the others were named after former secretary Chauhdry Naseer, vice president Shakeel Awan, joint secretary Dilawar Khan and the fifth as Shuhada Block.

In 2013, the encroachment started on the basis of an order the lawyers obtained from a civil judge.

However, after resistance by traders of F-8, the CDA demolished about 30 under-construction chambers the same year. But almost half of the plots occupied by lawyers could not be retrieved. There was even a clash between the lawyers and traders which forced the police to move an application with a court to seal the ground.

In 2018, an order was issued by a senior civil judge restraining the CDA from interfering in construction of the chambers on the public ground.

In addition to the football ground, the lawyers have also constructed chambers on footpaths, litigants’ sitting area and at every open space available in front of courtrooms as well as in the surrounding of the district courts.

Recently, the lawyers constructed chambers in the already narrowed corridors of the district courts, in front of the judges’ chambers and even inside the parent-children meeting hall.

After demolition of some of the chambers by the CDA, the lawyers staged a protest and detained about 20 judges inside courtrooms on December 21. They not only reconstructed the demolished chambers but also increased the number of the unauthorized chambers.

The special branch of police declared the premises insecure due to mushroom growth of the chambers. The CDA has included the football ground among the encroached amenity plots a list of which has already been submitted to the apex court and the IHC.