People at the helm of affairs of Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) failed to protect constitutional right to life of 500 breadwinners who are facing illegal demolishing threat of their licensed Kohkhas in various places of the town.
While assailing decision of single member bench of the Islamabad High Court through an intra court appeal on Monday a petitioner urged the court to issue restraining orders to Capital Development Authority from demolishing licensed Kiosk (Khokha) of breadwinners.
Filing the appeal on behalf of appellant Mohammad Sabir, advocate Umer Gilani made the CDA and Islamabad Capital Territory administration and four others as respondents in the matter alleging that only legally authorized breadwinner are in hot waters as CDA failed to implement law issues .
Gilani said that the CDA has demolished almost 200 of these khokhas during June and July this year on the flimsy pretext of its anti-encroachment drive and plans to finish off all of them. He contended the khokhas are sources of serving free water, affordable food and shade to the poorest of the city’s residents and are integral to fabric of the capital city.
Umer Gilani further said it is a misconception that anything which is not expressly mentioned in Islamabad’s Master Plan is illegal and liable to be demolished.
Gilani submitted a ‘Master Plan’ is not meant to be a comprehensive guideline for running the affairs of the city till all eternity, adding the Plan is only meant to contain broad outlines regarding town planning.
He categorically said that Municipal functions such as licensing of khokhas definitely fall beyond the scope of the Master Plan claiming if this misconception were not cleared, the construction of the Islamabad High Court itself would be declared illegal since the Master Plan did not envisage it.
Advocate Gilani submitted that demolition of all khokhas in the city will not only cause damage to the livelihoods of licensees, it could also endanger the right to life too. It may be recalled that in Karachi more than a 1000 people died during a heatwave because they couldn’t find shade or water.
The appellant also documented history of the evolution of khokhas in Islamabad saying the facts made it clear that khokhas have remained a regulated and licensed institution in Islamabad at least since 1979 which cannot be considered to be encroachment by any stretch.
Gilani said that the CDA had issued licenses to such Khokhas under a published policy dating during 1986 whereas during 2015, a Committee of the National Assembly had also ruled in their favor.
The appellant contended that on 28th August, 2017, as many as 55-member session of the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad ruled in favor of allowing khokhas to continue serving the city’s poor terming the MCI resolution is particularly important since the issuance of kiosk licenses is essentially a devolved local government matter.
“Under Article 140A of the Constitution read with ICT Local Government Act, 2015, neither the CDA nor the courts can make such decisions or override the local government. Only elected local government can make such decisions related to municipal administration”, counsel for appellant concluded.
The Law Today Pakistan, commonly known as TLTP, is the largest news wire service, headquartered in Islamabad. The service is providing fast, comprehensive and verified news on superior courts adjudications, regulatory framework of fiscal, monitory and external sectors, economic regulatory bodies amid apex institutions regulating the financial system. TLTP is empowering readers of more than 12 national English dailies in the country.