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Saturday June 15, 2024

PTI approaches IHC against sealing of its Islamabad office

Imran Khan-founded party terms CDA’s operation "illegal, unlawful, result of malafide and political victimisation"

By Awais Yousafzai
May 25, 2024
CDA machinery demolishing a portion of the PTIs Central Secretariat in Islamabad, on May 23, 2024. — Screengrab/X/@PTIOfficial
CDA machinery demolishing a portion of the PTI's Central Secretariat in Islamabad, on May 23, 2024. — Screengrab/X/@PTIOfficial

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against sealing of its Central Secretariat by the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

The CDA had Thursday demolished a portion of the PTI Central Secretariat over a “violation of building rules”, drawing strong condemnation from the former ruling party.

The CDA said that its anti-encroachment team launched an operation to eliminate illegal construction and encroachment.

In response, the PTI voiced its concerns in the Senate and today, the party's secretary general, Omar Ayub Khan, filed the petition and made secretary of interior, chief commissioner, CDA chairman, and IG Islamabad parties in the case.

In his petition, the PTI leader said: “Neither any order nor any notice was ever served upon the petitioner, hence, the impugned act of the respondents is due to malafide intention, blackmailing, without due process of law and violation of principle of natural justice and also contrary to Article 4 and 10-A of the Constitution."

The petitioner argued that PTI, through its members Arshad Dad and Naseem ur Rehman, purchased commercial plot Number 1-A situated at Shopping Centre, Sector G-8/4-2 from Sartaj Ali in 2020.

It is pertinent to mention here that the CDA, following the operation, had said that encroachment by a "political party" was removed and added that the plot was allotted in the name of a person named Sartaj Ali.

The petitioner termed the CDA’s operation illegal unlawful and the result of malafide, political victimisation and violation of fundamental rights.

PTI seeks end to politics of 'coercion'

A day earlier, Leader of Opposition in Senate Shibli Faraz Friday berated the government for using force against the PTI and arresting the party’s local chapter chief Aamir Mughal.

Addressing the Senate, Faraz said the treasury benches not only banned his party they also used all the tactics against it. It was not enough for them to snatch the party’s electoral symbol, he blasted.

Referring to the raid at the PTI office, the senior leader said his party’s central office was razed in Islamabad, Mughal was arrested and PTI workers were beaten by police with batons.

Faraz said the CDA demolished the building on the government’s desire. They had started using foul tactics after failure to compete with the PTI politically, he said. They were creating hatred for themselves through such actions, he said.

“You cannot (continue to) do politics through coercion. Whatever oppression you carry out, will be registered,” he said pointing towards the treasury benches.

The opposition leader had said the PTI central office was attacked and the party’s information secretary survived a lethal assault.

Operation 'legal'

Backing the anti-encroachment operation, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, had informed the Senate that action had been taken in accordance with the law and for violating building bylaws.

He made the remarks while responding to a point of order raised by PTI Faraz in the Senate. The law minister further explained that the first notice was issued to the political party in 2020 for violating building bylaws.

“Notices were repeatedly issued from 2020 to 2024 at six-month intervals, with the final notice given on May 10 for ongoing violations.”

“In view of the last notice dated May 10, the action is in accordance with the law,” the minister added.

The minister elaborated that he had talked to the chairman of the CDA, who confirmed that the process had been ongoing for the past four years due to the violations. The final notice was issued to ensure compliance with CDA directions, he added.

The minister further explained that reminders were issued to the political party regarding two floors constructed without CDA approval and the misuse of a public place for parking containers. He said that the party had constructed illegal parking sheds.

He said that despite repeated requests, the party did not remove the illegal structures or vacate the public space, causing problems for the public.