Hotel sites: Auction delay petition dismissed
ISLAMABAD: IHC Justice Aamer Farooq on Friday dismissed a petition against the auction of three sites for five-star hotels.
The sites are located in Blue Area between F-9 and G-9, Murree Road, and the northern strip of E-11.
The auction was scheduled to be held on November 16 and 17.
A petition was filed by local lawyer Arafat Ahmed in which he alleged that the sites were being auctioned to “some blue-eyed parties” The petitioner claimed that CDA had also offered very generous floor area ratio, which would allow the construction of buildings that are 100-storeys high.
The counsel argued before the court that the CDA advertisement for the auction of the sites explicitly stated that the three plots were being presented for luxury hotels, which conveys the impression that the sites are being auctioned off only for the construction of hotels. He adds that the brochure mentions states 20 per cent of the covered area can be used for other commercial purposes.
Responding to the petition, CDA’s counsel Kashif Ali Malik argued that the process for the said auction was initiated in a transparent manner and in accordance with the applicable law and regulations. He said that the CDA is the custodian of state land and therefore must account for all its transactions.
Malik also challenged the legal standing of the petitioner, saying that he was not an aggrieved party and was not a participant in the proposed action.
Malik added that the petition was not serving the public interest as the aggrieved parties were builders and developers, who he said, had spent millions of rupees to stop the auction using newspaper ads.
He said the ad was published on November 13, 2015 — the same day the petition was filed in the IHC. Instead of representatives from the Developers Association, the lawyer had filed the petition on his own and insisted that it was public interest litigation.
According to the CDA counsel, the civic authority has spent a large sum of money on auction ads in local and international newspapers.
He said that the petition had caused huge losses to the CDA and had also led to some plots being tagged as ‘under litigation’, which reduces their potential auction price.
IHC Justice Farooq dismissed the petition on grounds of legal standing and maintainability, while vacating a restraining order on the auction.