ISLAMABAD, July 18: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday dismissed the petition of the Marriott Hotel to quash a notice sent by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) asking it to remove its fortifications on public spaces.
CDA told the five-star hotel authority to vacate the land it had encroached upon to use as secluded parking lot and open the road skirting it.
The court observed: “Hotel management could build whatever security arrangement they want, including steel walls inside their premises, but not encroach upon the government land, causing problems to the general public and commuters”.
The Marriott Hotel administration had filed the petition on July 6 in which it had adopted that the hotel had been the victim of three deadly attacks and the one carried out in September 2008 was the deadliest that killed 31 persons and injured many others.
The attacks caused huge financial loss to the hotel as well, the appellant said. The hotel has been a hub of foreigners and embassies, and chairman standing committee on interior Senator Talha Mehmood, IG Islamabad have duly approved the security measures which were approved by the CDA authorities.
As far as the parking lot is concerned the hotel has been paying to the CDA for the facility, the appellant further adopted.
The petitioner requested the court to strike down the notices issued to them by the CDA. The court, however, dismissed their application.
CDA chief legal adviser Barrister Masroor Shah when contacted told Dawn that the authority in order to retrieve the public land had issued notices to a number of government departments, private sector organisations, foreign missions and other encroachers. “Marriott Hotel is also one of the organisations to whom the authority had served the notices,” he said.
The green areas could not be used for parking purposes under the CDA rules.
In the past, the five star hotels would block even the main roads for security reasons, which caused problems to the public but the authority would compel them to remove the blockades, he added.
According to him, the IHC is currently looking into this matter and the recent notices to the encroachers have been issued in the light of the court's observations.
Murtaza Ahmed, Public Relations Manager at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad, however, was not aware of the recent developments.
When asked the status of Marriott Hotel's parking, Murtaza replied, I don't know its status but the management is following the set criteria."
In another matter the same IHC bench directed the federation, Secretary Finance to appoint a permanent president of Zarai Taraqiati Bank (ZTBL) within a period of one month.
The IHC bench issued the order in the contempt of court application of Senior Vice President of ZTBL, Sohail Mansoor through his counsel Barrister Afzal Hussain seeking contempt proceeding against acting president ZTBL, Roohi Raees Khan for violating the court orders.
The petitioner adopted that the acting president has been making appointments on senior slots of the bank and taking major policy decisions against stay orders of the court.