Reply sought in Journalists Housing Society park case

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday sought replies from respondents on a petition challenging proposed conversion of recreational park at the Lahore Press Club Journalist Housing Scheme, Harbanspura, into a residential area by way of carving out of it plots for as many as 295 newly inducted members of the club.

Earlier, the Lahore Development Authority, through its counsel, informed the court that it had no link with the housing scheme and it was only carrying out development work over there.

At this, the court directed all other respondents to file their replies on the matter by April 4.

On January 21, the court, during preliminary hearing, had restrained the Punjab government from converting a park into residential plots. On Tuesday, it extended the stay until next date of hearing.

The judge earlier had remarked that prima facie bar existed on converting the allocated land for developing a park into residential plots. A senior journalist, Din Muhammad Dard, had challenged the conversion of the park into residential area, submitting that the elected body of Lahore Press Club, including its president Sarmad Bashir, had distributed forms among new members to provide them plots in the parks in violation of the law.

He said that, according to the law, once land was allocated for developing a park for the residents of the colony, it could not be used for any other purpose. He submitted that private land was lying vacant adjacent to existing housing scheme from which acquisition of 581 Kanals 16 marlas land had not only been proposed for phase-II of housing scheme but initial notification under section 4 of Land Acquisition Act has also been issued in May 2007.

He said the land would be a better place for allotment of plots to new council members of the LPC. He submitted that the decision was based on mala fide intentions, requesting the court to declare it as illegal.

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