ISLAMABAD-Unauthorised structures and housing schemes in the capital are expected to get a chance of regularisation after the Islamabad High Court on Saturday directed the federal government to submit its policy in this regard.

The IHC in its written order observed that the court was facing a flood of petitions seeking regularisation of illegal buildings as Supreme Court had ordered to regularise the unauthorised Grand Hyatt hotel and constructions in Banigala.

A dual bench of the IHC comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb issued these directions after hearing a petition seeking regularisation of buildings constructed in 2005 on a plot earmarked for a park and deferred the proceedings till April 4.

During the hearing, the interior secretary and Capital Development Authority Chairman Amir Ali Ahmed appeared before the court in person. Ahmed’s stance was also made part of the written order, which said that a review petition had been filed in the Grand Hyatt case.

The dual bench said in the written order, “It is noted that the regularisation of ‘Constitution One’ (Grand Hyatt) and illegal buildings constructed in protected areas of Banigala and Mohra Noor had created an awkward situation, which is pleaded as ground for regularising illegal construction throughout the area comprising Islamabad Capital Territory. This court [IHC] has been inundated with constitutional petitions seeking the same relief.”

Last year, a Supreme Court bench headed by then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar ordered regularisation of illegal constructions in Banigala and the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The IHC, however, was of the view that the Supreme Court’s decision in both the matters was a result of improper assistance by the relevant stakeholders. The IHC order noted, “It appears to us that in both the cases, proper assistance was not extended to the Supreme Court.”

Earlier, a single bench and a dual bench of the IHC held that construction of residential apartments on a plot meant for Grand Hyatt Hotel was illegal. Likewise, IHC’s larger bench in Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk case declared unauthorised structures in Banigala as illegal. The bench had also formed a high-powered commission to examine the cases for regularisation of illegal constructions in Banigala and Mohra Noor as well. In Sikandarul Mulk case, the IHC focused on the environmental degradation and climate change.

In its present order, the IHC stated, “The federal government, through its policy and conduct, is under obligation to dispel the impression that the regularisation policy is restricted to and is formulated for the privileged classes only. It is duty of the federal government to satisfy this court that the policy regarding regularisation of construction made in violation of the enforced laws is for every citizen and not only for a few.”

The court accepted a request for adjournment of the case and directed the federal government to “unequivocally state its policy on the next date of hearing”.

It said, “The federal government is expected to satisfy this court that why all similarly-placed persons may not be treated equally or that why illegal construction carried out in violation of the laws within 1,400 sq miles of the Islamabad Capital Territory may not be regularised by treating them at par with the regularisation of ‘Constitution One’ and the buildings within the area of Banigala and Mohra Noor.”

It added, “The federal government and the Capital Development Authority are directed to submit their respective reports before the next date of hearing. The [registrar] office is directed to re-list the appeal on April 4, 2019.”

On the other hand, sources in the CDA revealed that the civic agency had also authorised its Building Control Section-II to come up with a plan for regularising unauthorised buildings and housing schemes in the federal capital.