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The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is all set to appoint new legal advisor at a time when deadline for filing review petitions in important cases, including Grand Hyatt Hotel/One Constitution Avenue, information technology university, land acquisition in sectors F-14 and F-15 for Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) and farm houses cases, is approaching.
The legal advisor of the CDA, Kashif Malik has been sent on forced leave, compelling him to resign from his position since he was, reportedly, under pressure on regularisation of Bani Gala and One Constitution Avenue.
In view of his pending resignation, the Authority has proposed a panel of three lawyers to the Ministry of Law and Justice for appointment of the legal advisor.
The change of legal advisor comes at a time when the deadline for filing of review petitions in the important cases, including Grand Hyatt/One Constitution Avenue, IT university, acquisition of land in sectors F-14 and F-15 for FGEHF and farmhouses regularisation, is approaching fast.
Reportedly, the legal advisor was upset over repeated correspondence by the Ministry of Law and Justice in replacing him with another lawyer namely Shahid Naseem Gondal, who contested 2018 general elections for the provincial assembly seat from Mandi Bahauddin.
Recently, the former Chairman CDA Afzal Lateef, was also replaced by the government. Lateef was considered as an upright officer and a strong opponent of regularisation of Grand Hyatt, Banigala and farmhouse cases.
The Ministry of Interior was also pushing the CDA for implementation of the Supreme Court's judgement in the Grand Hyatt Hotel case. The builder/BNP has also filed an application for de-sealing of the premises. The de-sealing cannot take place without seeking opinion from the legal advisor. Further, the legal advisor had also advised the CDA to file a review petition against the order dated 09.01.2019, passed by a bench headed by former Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.
Interestingly more than two weeks have passed since the retirement of the former chief justice but the detailed judgement in the Grand Hyatt Hotel case has not been issued. The legal experts believe that it would not be possible to sign the judgement after days of retirement; therefore, in all probability the case might go in re-hearing.
Malik successfully represented CDA in the case before a single and division bench of high court. He also defended other high profile litigation of CDA before the high court. The CDA Board is not properly constituted at the moment as most of the positions of members are either vacant or on acting charge. Further, their appointment is also under doubt in view of the Islamabad High Court's judgement in Sheikh Ansar (mayor of Islamabad) case.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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