LHC stops govt from constructing illegal buildings in Walled City

AFP

LAHORE: Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday stopped the Punjab government from constructing buildings inside the Walled City against the rules.
Hearing a petition against illegal constructions and commercial activities inside the Walled City, the judge also sought replies from the Walled City Authority and other respondents by May 6. 
Earlier, the police submitted a report that three cases had been registered for carrying out illegal constructions and that these three buildings had also been sealed.
Counsel for the City District Government and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) informed the court that they had no jurisdiction to control construction activities inside the Walled City as this was within exclusive jurisdiction of the Walled City Authority.
Asif Ali Mirza and Abdul Razzak, residents of the Walled City, moved the court through their counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique, saying that local authorities had allowed the construction of a commercial plaza in the vicinity.
He submitted that the respondents have excavated the adjoining property for building a basement, thereby damaging the property of the petitioners and have started raising illegal constructions over the said property without any sanctioned site plan and without obtaining permission from the authorities concerned.
He said that the building of a 200-year-old imambargah in Kashmiri Gate was being damaged due to illegal construction of a multi-storey building on the adjacent piece of land. 
He submitted that the chief minister’s complaint cell had directed the City Division superintendent of police on November 1, 2013 to look into the matter and take necessary action as per law, but to no avail. 
He said that haphazard and illegal constructions and commercial activities in the Walled City were illegal, unconstitutional, and a violation of the Walled City Act, 2013, the Punjab Local Government Ordinance, 2001, and the Punjab Local Government Act, 2013 read with Building Codes and other regulations and by-laws.
He requested the court to direct the authorities to demolish the illegal buildings and also take action against those persons who had authorised such illegal commercial activities and constructions.

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