JUSTICE Sheikh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday observed that the LDA authorities would face criminal cases if Liberty Park and Ride Shopping Plaza was constructed on land of recreational park.

Justice Saeed issued this warning to the LDA while hearing a petition challenging construction of the plaza, when petitioner’s counsel said the shopping plaza was being built on the land of recreational park.

Counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique further said that the impugned construction was causing millions of rupees loss to the traders at Liberty Market.

The judge directed the LDA to produce map of the shopping plaza and adjourned hearing till April 15.

Advocate Siddique and six shops owners at Liberty Market had filed the petition and contended that the transfer of open space to LDA for the purpose of constructing the plaza was illegal and in violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.

The petition was filed against government of Pakistan through its law secretary, government of Punjab through its law secretary and parliamentary affairs, housing, urban development and public health engineering departments, Lahore Development Authority through its chairman, Parks and Horticultural Authority (PHA) through its chairman, the director, estate management, Lahore Development Authority, director, TEPA and the provincial environmental protection agency.

Petitioners’ counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted that the land was an open space owned by the PHA which was illegally transferred to LDA for construction of the plaza. He said in shops in the plaza were also constructed for running the business which was badly affecting the petitioners.

He requested the court to declare that this open space was still in the ownership and control of the PHA and that all subsequent transactions or transfers of it by any authority were without any legal jurisdiction.