‘Defects’ Highlighted in Islamabad High Court Building

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) building has come under scrutiny after a recent incident where an elevator malfunctioned, leaving the lead counsel of the PTI chief and 18 others stranded for over 40 minutes. In response, the IHC administration has launched inquiries into multiple defects within the building.

The administration ordered an inquiry into the elevator malfunction on August 25 and the report was submitted to the chief justice on Monday.

The inquiry committee will record statements from relevant officials, including the sessions judges who supervised the construction work. Once the inquiry is completed, the matter may be referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for further proceedings.

Former IHC chief justice Athar Minallah expressed concerns about the contractor’s performance in a meeting last year, suggesting that legal action should be taken. However, the decision was postponed due to fears of construction delays.

The construction of the IHC building began in November 2013 and took nearly a decade to complete. It became operational in June of this year. However, upon relocating to the new building, several issues arose, such as the malfunctioning HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system, the recent elevator malfunction, and the collapse of the boundary wall earlier this month.

An inquiry was initiated by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq after the wall collapse. The Pakistan Public Works Department also reported other issues, including the non-functioning filtration plant, the lack of proper HVAC, and the absence of firefighting, IT, lightning protection, and security systems in the building.

Concerns about the elevators were previously raised by the building’s resident engineer in letters sent last year and in May of this year. However, these concerns were reportedly ignored.

Overall, the defects within the IHC building have raised serious concerns about the safety and functionality of the premises for litigants, lawyers, court staff, and judges. Investigations and potential legal actions are expected to address the issues and ensure a secure environment for all occupants of the building.

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