Islamabad - The lawyers associated with Islamabad Bar Association are constructing their chambers on the land of a football ground in Sector F-8 of the federal capital, putting a question mark on the efficacy of the anti-encroachment operations carried out by the Capital Development Authority.

Capital Development Authority (CDA) is apparently carrying out an operation against encroachments in the city, but it has failed to prevent the lawyers from encroaching upon the state land.

This is not the first time that land of the football ground was usurped by the lawyers but a number of chambers had been constructed in the ground in February 2013 as well.

Members of the Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) having occupied the football ground are now constructing their chambers on the entire field reserved for children to play as per the CDA’s master plan.

The residents of Park Road are concerned about the illegal occupation and expansion after fresh construction is planned on another section of what remains of the football ground. Recently, the CDA planned to carry out an operation against the illegal constructions but the action was put off, ostensibly under pressure from the legal community.

The residents have appealed to the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter to protect the facility for their children from encroachment.

Talking to The Nation, a resident Ahmad Jamal questioned that why lawyers were encroaching upon a public ground. He said that after receiving information about the fresh encroachment, they raised the issue with the mayor, the chief officer of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and other concerned officials, but to no avail.

Another resident Jehanzeb Khan remarked that it was amazing that the civic body took action against vendors and push-cart handlers, but when it came to encroachments by lawyers, the CDA turned its back on the issue. He maintained that they would stage a protest if action was not taken against the encroachers.

The legal community had started encroaching upon a portion of the ground when the lawyers first constructed chambers inside the football ground premises in 2013. At that time, F-8 traders resisted the move, resulting in a public quarrel which culminated in both groups getting registered separate FIRs against each other. However, the lawyers managed to proceed with their illegal constructions.

Now, the lawyers have started encroaching upon other portion of the ground too and it looks that if swift action was not taken, new chambers would be constructed within the next few days.

When contacted, CDA spokesperson Malik Saleem, seemingly reluctant to comment on the issue, avoided to give any formal response.

But the legal fraternity maintained that it was the government’s responsibility to provide them land for construction of their chambers. They said that they had asked many times to the concerned authorities about it but they were paying no heed to their demands.

It has been learnt that the IBA lawyers had obtained a restraining order from a senior civil judge on November 30 that barred the CDA, UC administration and other respondents from creating any hurdles in the construction of temporary chambers.

When IBA President Naveed Malik was contacted, he defended construction of temporary chambers inside the ground, claiming that these were temporary structures and would be demolished once proper land was provided to them. Malik said that the association had over 5,000 members and a large number of the lawyers, particularly fresh graduates, had no chambers where they could practice.

He was of the view that lawyers were going to construct temporary chambers on a portion of the ground and the same would be demolished after the required land is given to them since it is the responsibility of the government to provide lawyers land for chambers.

He continued that there was a plot allocated for the district courts in sector G-10 and they had again and again requested the government to construct a judicial complex there, so they could move from F-8 to G-10 but no action was being taken on their demand.