Extending its restraining order against the handover of Bagh Ibn-i-Qasim to property developer Bahria Town, the Sindh High Court on Tuesday put off hearing a set of petitions against the provincial government and the real estate giant.
A two-judge bench fixed the matter for May 30 after the respondent authorities and Bahria Town sought time to file their responses to the petitions. At a previous hearing, Advocate Khalid Javed Khan, appearing on behalf of Bahria Town, had said the real-estate tycoon was no longer interested in the park as its ownership was disputed and the matter had become controversial.
He also submitted before a two-judge bench of the SHC that the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation did not have locus standi in the case, as the park was under the administrative control of the District Municipal Corporation.
The bench, headed by Justice Junaid Ghaffar, had on April 3 restrained the Sindh government from handing over Bagh Ibn-i-Qasim to Bahria Town in response to a set of petitions filed by Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and a non-governmental organisation.
The court had also suspended a notification issued by the provincial government which stated that the park was to be handed over to Bahria Town for 10 years till April 18, the next date of the case’s hearing.
Meanwhile, in its reply to the court’s orders, the provincial government vehemently opposed the petitions and asked the court to dismiss them.
The government said that the notification was issued in accordance with the law and after the approval of competent authorities and the petitioners’ requests were “without merit and justification .Further referring to the Part-II in the Schedule-II of the Act (Item No 52), he contended that insofar as the parks and gardens were concerned, such powers are exclusively vested in the metropolitan corporation to maintain and create any recreation for the convenience of the general public.