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Lahore: DHA initiates legal action against ‘illegal’ association

LAHORE: Declaring the registered body of its residents — the Residents Association (RA) — illegal, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) administration has issued a legal notice to one of its leaders, warning him to halt activities related to the RA.

The DHA issued a legal notice to former RA secretary general Lt Col ® Ashfaq Amjad a few weeks ago in which the administration demanded that Amjad stop using his residence as the head office of the RA. It also claimed that the political activities being conducted at the residence were in violation of the bylaws of the community. The notice, issued by the DHA legal adviser, warned that all civic facilities available to the residence, including its water supply, could be suspended.

No relief: The DHA administration has also barred the RA from conducting charity drives to collect relief goods for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Swat and Malakand division. RA Patron-in-chief Rohail Ikram said the DHA was wrong to take such action, and demanded the authority withdraw its legal notice. He said the association reserved the right to contact a higher court for justice if the administration did not cooperate.

On the matter of the relief camps, he said the RA had conducted similar activities after the 2005 earthquake, adding they had sent dozens of trucks containing essential items including medicine, clothes, and edibles to the quake-affected areas. “The DHA is the most elite residential facility of the city, and its residents, being more privileged, donated more than the residents of any other locality in Lahore. Barring them from continuing relief activities is not only an infringement on a resident’s rights, but has also deprived the IDPs of relief items,” he added.

No legal standing: Ikram said the RA is a registered body that has been operating in the area for more than two decades. He said all senior officials of the DHA used to visit the association’s events and acknowledged it in the past. However, DHA spokesman Tajamul Hussain Anjum said the DHA had never recognised the RA, because it was registered under the Residential Societies Act. He said it had lost all legal standing when the DHA was declared a housing authority.

The spokesman said the administration did not accept the existence of the RA, nor was it planning to take any legal action against them. He said the administration has allowed Edhi, Shaukat Khanam and other such credible agencies to organise relief efforts in the area.

The RA has been operational in the DHA since 1982. It claims to be the representative of more than 6,000 residents of the housing authority, with a membership of 400. The body demands its say in the bylaws and development of the DHA.

Source: Daily Times

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