SC orders CDA to demolish Musharraf’s farmhouse

SC orders CDA to demolish Musharraf’s farmhouse

ISLAMABAD: Soon after the dismissal of Pervez Musharraf’s plea for bail, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to demolish illegal constructions in the former president’s farmhouse.

Hearing a case against agriculture farmhouses built in violation, a three-member Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, ordered the civic body to restore 504 farmhouses to the status, as envisaged in the original lease deal, within three weeks. In view of this SC order, Musharraf’s five-acre palatial farmhouse in Chak Shahzad will also be demolished. His farmhouse – having five huge bedrooms, several lobbies and a swimming pool – is estimated to be worth more than Rs 300 million.

According to the details, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former Senate chairman Muhammad Mian Soomro, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Senator Wasim Sajjad, former senator Dr Shahzad Waseem, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Raja Nadir Pervez and several retired army officers, journalists and lawyers had also converted their agro-farmlands into palatial abodes in the capital. A bench lamented in its order that facts were not being disclosed in the court regarding the status of buildings raised on agro-farmhouses.

It also observed that rules and regulations were being amended to accommodate influential people, and a reference to a notification of March 21, 2013 was sufficient to substantiate the conduct and attitude of the CDA. The court said, “We direct the CDA chairman to take personal interest by strictly adhering to rules and regulations prevailing at the time when allotments were made in favour of the affected people of Islamabad and restore the original status of the farmhouses in the interest of the general public.” It also expressed annoyance over the CDA’s action of giving a legal cover to the decision made during the May 1994 board meeting by issuing a statutory regulatory order (SRO) on March 21, 2013.

Although CDA Member (Planning) Mustafain Kazmi informed the court that a fresh summary had been prepared – to be taken up by another board meeting in the near future – to reduce the covered area of farmhouses from the existing 10,000 square feet to 5,000sq-ft, the court held that intention mala fide. “This is not the job of the CDA to stretch rules to extend relaxation, compromise or facilitate influential people,” the CJP observed. The hearing of the case has been adjourned for three weeks. – DailyTimes