IHC reserves judgment in nonconforming use of property

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70 petitioners including Sherry Rehman approach court

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has reserved verdict in case pertaining to nonconforming uses of the properties located within the capital. Justice Aamer Farooq reserved the judgment after the parties concluded their arguments in the case here on Wednesday. According to details a total 70 guest houses located in different sectors of the capital have challenged the Capital Development Authority (CDA)’s notices alleging nonconforming use and violation of the Islamabad Residential Sectors Zoning (Building Control) Regulations 2005 and the CDA Ordinance, 1960.
Besides these guesthouses, several restaurants, boutiques, beauty parlours, think-tank institutes etc have also challenged the CDA notice.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader, former Information Minister and Senator Sherry Rehman, being the president of Jinnah Institute Trust (JIT) located in Sector F-6/1, has also challenged an eviction notice by the CDA for non-confirming use of her property.
She has maintained in her petition that shifting of JIT office in any commercial area would increase the risk of exposure of the dignitaries to terrorist attack and would put civilians and general public in harm’s way. In the petition, the PPP senator said that the institute engages policy-makers, government, media organizations, civil society, state institutions and academia with a view to maximizing space for its intellectual and advocacy products at the national, regional and global level.
Sherry Rehman has pleaded the court to direct CDA to allow her to use the premises for the desirous purpose and not be harassed to vacate the premises.
The other petitioners, proprietors of various businesses, said the authority issued notices without mentioning the precise nature of such non conformation and specifying to the nature of such violations has threatened the petitioners with demolition of their premises. Their counsel, Mohammad Akram Sheikh, maintains in the petition that the petitioners being the private individuals have been providing “Bed and Breakfast” facilities in different sectors in their lawfully constructed premises. “the notice issued to them fails to indicate with clarity as to what is considered non-conforming use,” he stated, adding that the notices state that if the petitioners do not stop operating their premises will be sealed and heavy fines will be imposed.