Arts & craft village: IHC moved against contract termination -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Arts & craft village: IHC moved against contract termination

Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD: The Indus Heritage Trust on Saturday filed an application with Islamabad High Court (IHC) against termination of its contract by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to operate the arts and craft village.

On Thursday when Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui was hearing a petition filed by Shariq H. Khan, seeking reinstatement on the post of manager operations with the project, the CDA assured the court of cancelling the contract and the same day delivered the termination letter to the IHT.

Anees Jillani, the vice-chairman and counsel for the IHT, in the miscellaneous application contended that a formal agreement had been signed between the trust and the CDA for 10 years on January 1, 2005, and later a management committee was formed to govern the arts and craft village.

According to the application, under the agreement the CDA had agreed to hand over the village to IHT and to pay salaries of the village’s employees. He said Shariq H. Khan was also among the employees who were hired for a specific task for an initial period of one year. But Khan tried to create confusion between the CDA and IHT, he alleged.

The application said Khan started sending anonymous complaints to different agencies of the government, including the President of Pakistan, Cabinet Division, parliamentary committees and finally to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and to the media.It claimed that FIA never contacted anybody in the IHT but repeatedly summoned CDA officials in order to pressure them and subsequently, on March 22, 2012, the village’s contractor reinstated Khan.

The application pointed out that a group of CDA officials always opposed the grant of the craft village project to IHT and Khan awarded the contracts of around 12 restaurant sites to their favourite people without even consulting the IHT. He also tried to lease the shops against the spirit of the project as IHT had planned to change the tenancies after every 15 days, and use the premises of the craft village for functions.

The application claimed that there was no termination clause in the agreement with CDA; therefore, it was legally and constitutionally not possible. Additionally, the agreement has an arbitration clause 18 but the chairman CDA instead of resorting to arbitration terminated the agreement illegally.

The IHT requested the court to suspend the termination order till disposal of its application and cancel the reinstatement order for Mr Khan.

The single bench will hear the case along with the main petition of Mr Khan on Monday.