Owners of demolished Gaddafi shops cry foul
LAHORE: Shopowners spoke out angrily against the city government and later took their protests outside the Pakistan Cricket Board’s offices on Tuesday demanding that they be compensated for the demolition of their shops at Gaddafi.
Sheikh Abdul Waheed, owner of the banquet hall Dewan-e-Khas, said he had filed a case against the cricket board, including Ramiz Raja, Sami-uz-Zaman, who is in charge of the board’s real estate dealings, and 40 others, for the demolition on Monday of his banquet hall and eight restaurants.
Speaking at the Lahore Press Club, Mr Waheed demanded he be compensated for the loss of his business.
The shops outside Gaddafi Stadium were destroyed under orders from the city district government in view of the upcoming matches between India and Pakistan. The government said the demolition was necessary to tighten security for the matches.
Mr Waheed said no such measures were taken during the Cricket World Cup in 1999.
Mr Waheed said he leased the land for his business from the cricket board on a 38-year contract in 1996. According to the contract, the cricket board had to give at least 60 days notice ahead of cricket matches if they wished the business temporarily close down.
“Cricket board officials did not issue any such notice, and no notice for encroachment was issued either,” said Mr Waheed. “Had they done so, we would have dismantled the set up ourselves.”
Owners of the eight other restaurants were also at the press conference and said police had treated them “like terrorists and hardened criminals” and used unwarranted force to drive away their customers and destroy their businesses.
These kiosk and small shop owners maintain that their businesses were legal. —Staff Report