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Park and Ride Plaza: High Court asks for original plans

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the Punjab government and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to submit the original plan for land on which the Liberty Parking Plaza has been built till April 15 to answer an assertion that the plaza has been constructed on land meant for a public park.

Advocate Khwaja Saeed Zafar submitted a reply in the court on Tuesday on behalf of the LDA and the Punjab government. It said that Liberty Parking Plaza had been constructed on ‘non-utilised’ land and that the site was not a park as claimed by the petitioners.

The petition was moved by six shop owners in Liberty Market through Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique. They said that the plaza had been constructed on land allocated for development of a park.
Its status, he argued, could not be changed in view of the rules and decisions of the superior judiciary.

The petitioners’ counsel said that the recent digging up of roads near their shops and around the plaza had caused their businesses a loss and asked the court for an interim order against it. Advocate Zafar told the court that the parking plaza had been constructed with a cost of Rs670 million and has a capacity to provide parking facility for more than 300 cars at a time.

He said besides the parking facility, the plaza was an addition to the beautification of the city.

He informed the court that the LDA owned bulk of the land. An additional 13 marla land for the plaza was purchased from the adjacent United Christian Hospital for Rs50 million.

The LDA counsel said that the traders in the area had not raised any objections to the plaza when its construction started.

Advocate Siddique, contesting the respondent’s counsel, said that the land now covered by the parking plaza was once a public park and was held by Parks and Horticulture Agency (PHA) since 1998.

He suggested that the court ask the respondent to file an affidavit in this regard. He said he had proof that the site was a public park.

He said it was unlawful for the LDA to permit construction on land reserved for a pubic recreational facility. The judge warned the respondent that if the petitioners’ assertion was established, criminal cases would be registered against LDA and Punjab government officials. The next hearing will be held on April 15.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2011.

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