Court turns down petition against sealing of Grand Hyatt Hotel

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—After rejecting petition by Safa Gold Mall for de-sealing of the shopping mall, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday rejected a petition by another heavyweight business and construction group, Dubai-based BNP against sealing of the Grand Hayat Hotel and towers housing apartments and offices. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) had sealed the multi-storey building a couple of days ago on ‘violations of bylaws.’ The group had challenged the CDA action in the court. At the grand Hayat Towers not only a five-star hotel is being constructed residential and commercial flats were also planned in the huge structure.
Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiani of the IHC announced the decision of rejecting the group’s petition. Earlier the court had reserved the judgment. During the course of hearing of the case, counsels for CDA board of directors produced lease cancellation notification before the court saying the builders of Grand Hyatt had created third party interest without adhering to the CDA by-laws.
“We informed about the Board decision to Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the authority has cancelled the plot and formal notification would be issued in few days after the completion of caudal formalities,” an official of the CDA told Pakistan Observer.
It may be mentioned here that On July 1, 2006, Building Control Section (BCS) of the authority had sealed the under-construction multi-storey hotel for various building and layout plan violations. In response, the builders of the Grand Hyatt Hotel challenged the move in High Court and tried to get an order for unsealing of their premises.
However, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had restrained the civic agency from taking further coercive action against the builders and maintained till the disposal of the case. No demolition or structure demolition of any work will be undertaken, the court had ordered. The court had also restricted the builders not to raise any new structure in the project.
In 2005, CDA auctioned the said plot to the BNP Group for Rs4.88 billion and handed over possession after receiving Rs 400 million. The rest of the amount was to be paid over 15 years. Later in 2012, the then chairman CDA rescheduled the payment plan and allowed BNP to pay the remaining amount till 2026. One after another favours led to raising eyebrows of relevant circles and a well-placed source in Islamabad Real Estate Empire revealed that an influential federal minister was also part of this project through his front-man.
According to sources in the CDA, the builders have made several building bylaws violations. They built 240 apartments when 120 were permitted. They also sold the apartments in market without seeking completion certificate from the Building Control Section.
The possession of the building rests with the authority whereas, after the cancelation of allotment, now the authority would decide how to recover the damages through this building, said a senior official of the CDA.

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