ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday issued stay order against the suspension of construction work at the site of a five-star hotel (Grand Hyat) in Diplomatic Enclave near the Convention Center.
A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah granted the stay order on the petition of the company Bismillah Niagara Paragon (BNP) Pvt Ltd which had moved the court through Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan.
The petitioner had challenged the directions of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that had issued directions for stopping construction work at the site and also for the arrest of BNP officials while PAC had also directed to lodge cases against the company officials and CDA officials.
After hearing the petition, Justice Athar issued notice to the PAC and the CDA and sought their reply in the matter.
According to the details, the petitioner had acquired a piece of land for the construction of a five-star hotel that was leased out to him by the CDA in 2005 against five billion rupees. The company had to pay the said amount till 2020 in installments.
Talking to The Nation, Barrister Aitzaz's assistant Barrister Gohar Ali Khan informed that there had been worst earthquake in the country in October 2005 and earthquake not only affected the plot where the hotel had to be constructed but also the CDA changed its laws regarding building code and structure.
He also said that due to the change in the building code and structure, the cost of hotel had risen and then, BNP filed an application before the then prime minister seeking time relaxation regarding payment of the lease amount.
He added that then prime minister referred the matter to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) which allowed CDA board to decide the matter. Later, the CDA board rescheduled the matter and awarded one-year relaxation to the company.
Barrister Gohar continued that in 2010-11 the auditor general had raised objection over rescheduling of the amount and said in the audit para that this rescheduling was not discussed with the auditor general's office. Then, PAC took up the matter and issued directions for the arrest of BNP officials and the CDA officials.
In the petition, BNP has maintained that the PAC unilaterally decided this matter without providing them a chance of hearing.
After issuing these arguments, the IHC bench deferred the hearing in this matter with date in office.