ISLAMABAD: The appointment of Islamabad’s Mayor Shaikh Ansar Aziz as the CDA Chairman has been challenged by two citizens in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) who have implored to set aside his appointment, It was also requested to restrain the mayor from taking major and important policy decisions including postings, transfers and appointments on a prompt basis. A writ petition under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 was filed by two residents of Islamabad; Raja Ahsaan Satti and Muhammad Umer Abbasi, through their team of legal councils headed by the Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, Raja Aleem Khan Abbasi, in the IHC. The petitioner submitted that the appointment of the mayor as the CDA chairman was totally illegal and unlawful according to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Ordinance 1960 and it was also against the principle enunciated by the superior courts of Pakistan. The plaintiff mentioned that the post of the chairman was an independent, impartial, neutral, and professional post which demanded the appointment of a person without any political affiliations, whereas the mayor is a political person. It was also stated that a conflict of interests also exists between the office of the mayor and the Chairman CDA as Shaikh Ansar Aziz is a well known businessman dealing in the construction business and this fact in itself would affect the devolution process between both the institutions. Furthermore, the mayor being an acting chairman is taking major policy decisions in the CDA, which he is not legally authorized to do so as the role of a part-time chairman was only to perform the day to day administrative affairs of an urgent nature. It was submitted by the plaintiffs that the MCI was at the initial stage of its formation and had not yet taken off, If the mayor of the MCI concentrated his energies and efficiencies in the CDA, then the MCI would suffer badly. They added that holding dual offices was a violation of the concept of good governance and was also against Section 27 of the Local Government Act according to which the mayor cannot hold dual offices unless he resigns from one office. Moreover he did not have the required, relevant and profound experience to run the institution. However, on the above mentioned grounds, the plaintiffs requested the court to set aside the appointment of Shaikh Ansar Aziz as the CDA Chairman by declaring it as illegal and unlawful. It was also prayed that Shaikh Ansar should be restrained from taking major and important policy decisions including postings, transfers and appointments. A council in this case from the plaintiff’s side, Raja Shafqat Khan Abbasi, talking to Daily Times said: “The appointment of the mayor as the CDA chairman was an example of favouritism and a move to oblige a blue-eyed person.” He also asked: “The mayor cannot even become a Member of the Board of the CDA according to its Ordinance than how could he become the chairman?” On the other side, commenting on the condition of anonymity a legal advisor of the CDA briefed: “In my view, the appointment of the mayor will be declared illegal by the IHC as there are legal lacunas in his appointment, which should be dealt in accordance with the law.” The case is fixed for an initial hearing in the court of the honourable Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court for Thursday, where the maintainability of the case will be decided. It is pertinent to mention here that Daily Times had first highlighted the legal anomalies the very next day of the mayor’s appointment as the CDA chairman and now all the highlighted legal flaws are being taken by the plaintiffs in their writ petition. Two separate petitions were moved in the IHC in this regard. Raja Ahsan and Farukh Nawaz Bhatti filed separate petitions through their counsels Shafqat Abbasi Advocate and G.M Chaudhry Advocate. The petitioners contended that the owner of a construction company couldn’t be appointed as the head of a federal civic body. The petitioners said that Sheikh Ansar Aziz was elected as the IMC Mayor and not as the CDA Chairman. They prayed the court to restrain Sheikh Ansar Aziz from official functions and declare his appointment as illegal. The petitioners also prayed the court to issue directives on the appointment of a regular chairman of the civic body. They prayed the court to declare the actions of the federal government regarding the nomination of Sheikh Ansar Aziz made vide Notification No. 6-15/2016-CDA-II, dated 06-09-2016 and thereafter the direction for performance of additional functions of Chairman CDA on part time basis vide Notification No. 1/45/2016-E-6, dated 06-09-2016 as illegal. They added that the CDA was under the administrative control of the Capital Administration and the Development Division as well as under the overall administrative control of the federalgovernment through the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The petitioners nominated the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, the Secretary Establishment Division, the Cabinet Secretariat, and the IMC Mayor Sheikh Ansar Aziz as respondents. When contacted, Sheikh Ansar Aziz rejected the allegations levelled in the petitions against him and said he was not availing any incentives or facilities from the civic body, as he only looked after the charge given to him. He was appointed as the board member of the CDA and then he was given a “look after charge” of the civic body which he termed was in accordance with the law. Some elements in the federal capital, he said, didn’t want him to work for the development of the city and resolving the basic problems of the citizens. It may be mentioned here that after the eight-month local body elections in the federal capital the mayor’s office came into function but tension cropped up between the IMC and the CDA on the distribution of powers. The tense relationship between the IMC and the CDA further worsened in August due to other issues such as the distribution of resources and funds. The sources further said that Maroof Afzal, the former chairman of the CDA was frustrated with the tug-of-war between the high-ups of the CDA and the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC). The CDA employees had also knocked the door of the court against the transfer of the directorates and powers to the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation which reflected the tense relations between the CDA and the IMC. Sources said that Maroof Afzal did not allow Sheikh Ansar to intervene in the affairs of the CDA and even rejected his recommendations on several issues. Aziz started lobbying to remove Afzal from the post and finally the government accepted his demand and transferred Azfal and gave Sheikh Ansar Aziz a “look after charge” of the civic body.