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Body formed to review commercial activities in University Town

Body formed to review commercial activities in University Town

PESHAWAR: After protests by various organisations against their eviction from University Town for violating court’s ban on commercial activities there, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak intervened and ordered formation of a two-member committee to find legal remedy to resolve the issue amicably.

Sources said officials of UN agencies having offices in University Town met with the chief minister on Thursday and shared their concerns regarding about Peshawar High Court’s orders regarding vacating the residential area.

They said that the UN officials looked perplexed as they did not know where to shift their offices if they were not allowed to continue to work in University Town.

Meanwhile, students of various private educational institutions also held a protest on Thursday and blocked University Road. The blockade of the main road caused inconvenience to people as traffic remained jammed for hours.

The students were holding protest against the local authorities’ crackdown on all kinds of commercial activities including private schools and universities in the residential area.

The private educational institutions and some private hospitals and clinics in University Town have been given about six months to vacate the houses where they operate.

The Peshawar High Court had ordered from time to time since late 90s closure of all kinds of commercial activities in University Town as it is a residential area which has turned into a commercial area with the passing of time.

In March 2015, the PHC had ordered winding up commercial activities in University Town, giving relaxation to educational and health institutions only. The court gave four months time to these institutions to end educational activities and health facilities in the University Town.

Recently, the district administration and local government officials were issued contempt notices for their inability to implement the court orders.

The pressure from PHC had spurred district and local administration to start crackdown on November 24 against those running commercial entities in residential area of University Town. The administration would be submitting report to the court on December 7.

The chief minister held several meetings with the officials of local government, law department, commissioner, deputy commissioner, district nazim and other officials to discuss this issue.

The meeting discussed the issue threadbare and then formed a two-member committee comprising secretaries of law and local government departments to find amicable and legal solution to the problem, sources privy to the meeting said.

A statement issued from the office of deputy commissioner on Thursday also said that three teams were formed for crackdown. During the crackdown, the official would be taking action against guest houses, cafes, shops, private clinics, hospitals, offices, schools, universities and NGO offices if they are still operating in the residential areas.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2016

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