LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday directed the petitioner’s counsel to conclude arguments today (Friday) on petitions seeking registration of FIR against federal railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and other officials for allegedly occupying Royal Palm Gold & Country Club and expelling its management out from holding the control.

The club’s management had filed the petition and stated that the sessions court did not order the police to register FIR on their application against Kh Saad Rafiq and other officials of the railways against the charges of closing the club and taking it into their own control.

Earlier, on July 4, 2016, the LHC granted interim to Royal Palm Gold & Country Club’s management to manage its services without disturbing possession of Pakistan Railways.

On Thursday, SCBA president Barrister Syed Ali Zafar and Senator Aitzaz Ahsan appeared in the court on behalf of the petitioner-management of the club.

 In their arguments, the petitioner’s counsel Barrister Syed Ali Zafar pointed out that the contract also contained an arbitration clause which provided that in case of any dispute between the parties, the government had to first give a notice, and if the dispute was not settled amicably, then to have the dispute decided by three arbitrators.

The petitioner’s counsel further said that the minister for railways, in connivance with the Chairman and the officials of Railways department, wanted to take over this facility to be used as his personal fiefdom and was not ready to wait for 49 years to expire. 

He further said that it was totally unlawful as no due process or any permission from the court was taken to evict the petitioner from the club. He said the officials of railways looted, plundered and destroyed the valuables and equipment as there was no one who could stop them.

Zafar told the court that railways minister supervised the operation due to which the local police were also unable to help. The counsel said the club was being run since 2001 under a valid lease and operation agreement between Royal Palm and Pakistan Railways which was known as  ‘Implementation Agreement July 26, 2001’.

The railways’ authorities violated the agreement which caused huge loss to the club he said.  The petitioner could not be forced to leave the club without following a proper and due process in and by a court of law.

He said the railways’ committed violation of Article 4 and 10 A of the Constitution. After hearing arguments of the petitioner’s counsel, Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza directed the petitioner’s counsel to conclude their arguments today (Friday).