ISLAMABAD    -   A larger bench of Islamabad High Court on Monday conducted hearing in a case related to the encroachments by lawyers on a football ground in F-8.

The 4-member larger bench comprising Chief Justice IHC Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the matter while Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) appeared before it on the court directions.

During the hearing, the affected persons of G-12 sector also appeared before the court. At this, Justice Kayani remarked that what was their fault that despite paying the amount they were still waiting for justice.

Then, the court directed the Chairman CDA to resolve their issue within 60 days. The bench also directed the Chairman to submit his report regarding encroachments in sector G-12 and in the areas along the IJP Road.

Later, the court deferred hearing in this matter for two weeks.

In February last year, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice of 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 the District Bar Association (DBA) Islamabad had divided the football ground into five blocks and named them after themselves. One of the blocks was named after Naveed Malik, a former president of the association, while others were named after former secretary Chauhdry Naseer, vice president Shakeel Awan, joint secretary Dilawar Khan and the fifth as Shuhada Block.

The encroachments started on the basis of an order the lawyers had obtained from a civil judge in 2013. However, after resistance by the traders of F-8, the Capital Development Authority (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, a stay order was issued by a senior civil judge restraining the CDA from interfering in the 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 the 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.

In this matter, a CDA report said that the lawyers had also encroached on state land worth millions of rupees that was retrieved after removing a restaurant. The CDA in its report dated December 19, 2017, said that the lawyers were constructing chambers on a public ground.

“Action undertaken by the lawyers is completely unlawful and stands in violation of the CDA Ordinance 1960,” the report added.

It also said that when the CDA staff visited the area to retrieve the land and asked the lawyers to stop the work, they (lawyers) presented a stay order issued by the senior civil judge.