Congested courts

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No one exactly knows as to whose idea was it to establish the district courts for the capital territory in the middle of a commercial area. Now that the capital has a population of 20 million people and is expanding to the east and west sides, the courts remain where they were, adding to the woes of the litigants, the resident in the vicinity, and the lawyers. On a given working day, finding a parking space becomes a real task.

The lawyers, having nowhere to go, have encroached upon nearby open spaces including a football ground to build their makeshift chambers. Earlier after a government-led drive against encroachments, lawyers’ chambers were demolished but only after two days the chambers were reconstructed again, only more in numbers. The parking area of former excise and taxation department and other areas meant for litigants’ waiting areas have also been used up by the lawyers.

Only last month, the Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah expressing displeasure over the state of affairs directed the ICT administration to prepare a proposal to set up purpose-built district courts.

The courts are operating from privately owned commercial buildings in commercial areas since last three decades. The irony is that the affected landlords of these rented buildings are forced to file eviction petitions in the same courts, and unsurprisingly there is no progress to speak of.

Though belatedly, the Capital Development Authority is finally moving on this issue. This Wednesday, it identified and reserved land for district courts in Taramri area of the capital’s rural areas. According to a news report, the authority has earmarked 3.2 acres for the proposed district courts (east). The districts courts (east) shall be shifted to the proposed area whereas the district courts (west) shall occupy the current building housing the IHC after the latter moves to its designated building on the Constitution Avenue. One only hopes that the plan is followed through in a timely fashion.