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February 14, 2018

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Where Senate allocations stand if Nawaz proven guilty: CJP

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar, on Tuesday asked what would be the worth of the Senate tickets issued by former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif if the decision came against him.

The chief justice passed the remark while hearing a set of petitions challenging the Election Act, 2017. The hearing was adjourned to Wednesday due to the absence of PML-N counsel Salman Akram Raja.

The chief justice headed a three-member bench comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsen. As the proceedings began, Salman Akram Raja’s assistant submitted an application to the bench requesting adjournment of the proceedings as he was busy attending the funeral prayers of noted lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir in Lahore.

Accepting the request, the chief justice adjourned the proceedings and asked the assistant to convey to Salman Akram Raja to get back to the court well-prepared, as the court did not know what decision would come out. In the NICL case, the court directed that the names of the accused Mohsin Habib Waraich and Ayaz Niazi be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar conducted the hearing. As the proceedings began, former interior secretary Qamaruz Zaman’s counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed submitted an application to the bench. The counsel took the stance that the order on which the apex court had served a contempt of court notice on his client was issued by the secretary establishment.

The bench directed that the matter be referred to a three-member bench. The bench directed the FIA director law present in the court to furnish the names of all the accused and details of cases with the court besides placing the names of Mohsin Habib Waraich and Ayaz Niazi on the ECL.

Meanwhile, a three-member Habib Waraich and Ayaz Niazi on the ECL. Meanwhile, a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the suo moto case of illegal construction of Imran Khan’s residence in Banigala.

The court directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to submit complete documents allowing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to construct his residence in Banigala.

The chief justice asked whether the PTI chief had taken permission from the civic body for construction of his house. The court directed the civic body and the relevant union council to furnish with it documents about Imran Khan’s residence by Wednesday (today).

The chief justice said buildings constructed in violation of relevant laws should be demolished. He said a person blowing whistle on an illegal activity must also have a clear conscience.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen asked the civic body officials in which union council Bani Gala was situated. Imran’s counsel Babar Awan informed the court that Bani Gala fell in four union councils. The chief justice observed that if need be they would order verification of permission granted for construction of the house.

Without referring to any person, the CJP said correction could be made if one realised their mistake. Babar Awan told the bench that the CDA had regulations in other villages of Islamabad.

The chief justice however said the court would see whether a hotel could be built in the surroundings of Rawal Dam. “It is responsibility of the state to remove encroachments from the dam area,” the CJP said, adding, “When we examine executive matters, then we also have to see this”.

“It is a matter of human rights, as polluted water mixes into the Rawal Dam water that is supplied to Rawalpindi,” the chief justice said. He observed that the CDA does nothing except filing reports.

In a lighter vein, he asked whether Imran Khan was still single. At this, there was laughter in the courtroom. The chief justice inquired whether Imran Khan had made the boundary of his property.

“Let us know if Imran Khan had constructed his house after getting permission from the relevant authorities,” the CJP asked. Additional Attorney General Waqar Rana complained that Babar Awan was not cooperating with the authorities on construction and encroachment in spite of the fact that the court had sought recommendations after meeting with all the stakeholders.

He requested the court to stop all sorts of construction in Bani Gala and proposed that the authorities be stopped from issuing NOCs for gas and power connections. Babar Awan informed the court that there were three types of construction in the area.

He said the private owners were allowed to use their properties according to their will. The chief justice said everyone had to follow the building regulations. Awan contended that the civic body had no concern with the private buildings.

He said the Islamabad Municipal Corporation had 50 union councils out of which 33 were in rural area and 17 in urban area. He, however, said buildings in the surrounding area of Rawal Dam were illegal.

Additional Advocate General, Punjab Razak Mirza submitted a report on illegal constructions in Murree. He said they had issued notices to the owners of 140 illegal buildings out of which 84 were commercial and 56 residential.

He informed the court that 88 owners of those buildings had appeared before the authorities and informed that rules permitted 30-feet buildings in the area. The chief justice asked who’d prepared these rules and when.

Mirza replied that the rules were prepared in 2005. The chief justice inquired whether in 30 feet as many building could be constructed. He noted that 8 storey buildings had been constructed in the area.

The AAG informed the CJP that 27 buildings constructed in violation of rules were demolished in the past while the remaining 140 buildings were creating nuisance. The chief justice asked when illegal buildings were being constructed then why the authorities had not taken any action.

He said the buildings were constructed by using influence and another reason of it could be monetary benefit. The chief justice sought a list of officers who were in service when such illegal buildings were constructed.

The chief justice said they would listen to the owners of illegal buildings, adding they might order a survey of buildings through the Punjab University. The chief justice also inquired about those who had not approached the courts yet.

He directed that these people should be apprised through an advertisement and if they didn’t come forward, then their buildings would be demolished. At the same time, he said if anyone had any objection to the report then they could approach the court.

The chief justice further asked whether illegal kiosks and shops could be built in Murree. He asked the deputy commissioner to issue a public notice in this regard. Razak A Mirza told the court that there were 23 buildings in the area whose owners had committed minor violations of building laws, while 107 buildings were constructed in complete violation of laws. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until next Monday.

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