CDA opens Centaurus after briefly sealing over ‘non-conforming’ of building bylaws

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Zubair Qureshi

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Tuesday decided to de-seal Centaurus Mall hours after it was sealed on the orders of the federal government over non-conforming of building bylaws.

Centaurus is a luxury shopping centre and residential tower located in the F-8 Sector at the cross-section of the Jinnah and Faisal avenues.

In a statement, the CDA spokesperson said on Tuesday the decision (of de-sealing) was made keeping in view the difficulties of traders, general public and employees of the mall.

“The Centaurus Mall will be de-sealed soon,” the spokesperson said, adding the section which came under “building violations” would remain closed.

The development came after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the traders’ associations of Islamabad denounced the government’s step of sealing the Mall Monday night as an act of “political revenge.”

The PTI linked the sealing of the mall to public spat between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PM of Azad Jammu and Kashmir premier Sardar Tanveer Ilyas — whose family owns the shopping mall.

AJK PM had stood and interrupted Prime Minister Sharif repeatedly during his address at the launching ceremony of the Refurbishment Project of units 5 and 6 of the Mangla Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant on Monday.

The AJK PM’s act was seen by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as an attempt to disrupt the ceremony and to bring a “bad name to the Kashmir cause.” In a video clip that went viral on social media, PM Shehbaz could be seen gesturing to the AJK premier to sit down and raise his concerns after the speech.

The same night the CDA officials sealed the premises with a notice of the authority reading: “The premises has been sealed on account of non-conforming use by order of director building control-city, CDA.” PTI Chairman Imran Khan in a tweet on Tuesday condemned the federal government’s move and called it an act of political vengeance.

“Sealing of Centaurus Mall by [the] PDM mafia in response to PM AJK censuring Shehbaz Sharif for not mentioning sacrifices of Kashmiris shows there is law of the jungle in Pak since last 8 months,” tweeted Imran.

An employee of the Mall, while talking to Pakistan Observer said, when we came to the office this morning, we were barred from entering Mall and told by the police that Centaurus Mall has been sealed once again. The CDA had sealed the Centaurus Mall a few weeks ago when fire had broken out in one of three towers of the business mall.

However, the authority unsealed Centaurus Mall and allowed business in it as usual after two weeks from the fire incident.