ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ramped up investigations into multiple defects in its building following a recent incident where an elevator malfunctioned, leaving the lead counsel of the PTI chief and 18 others stranded for over 40 minutes.
In light of the elevator incident, the IHC administration took swift action and ordered an inquiry into the malfunction, with the report subsequently submitted to the chief justice on Monday.
An official source disclosed that the chief justice had already initiated inquiries into various flaws within the building, including issues with the air-conditioning system.
The investigation committee is set to gather statements from relevant officials, including session judges who oversaw the building’s construction.
Once the inquiry concludes, the matter might be escalated to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), as per an official’s statement.
Sources also revealed that the former IHC chief justice Athar Minallah had previously suggested that the contractor could face legal proceedings, even hinting at NAB involvement.
However, concerns were raised about potential construction delays if the case was referred to the bureau.
The construction of the IHC building commenced in November 2013 and took almost a decade to complete.
Despite becoming operational in June of this year, several problems arose upon moving into the new premises.
The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, which had a cost of Rs. 550 million, malfunctioned, and a recent elevator breakdown highlighted serious safety concerns for court personnel, lawyers, litigants, and even judges.
The building’s boundary wall collapsed earlier this month, prompting an inquiry initiated by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq. Additionally, the Pakistan Public Works Department noted the improper functioning of the filtration plant and HVAC system, leading to insufficient air-conditioning for lower-level staff.
Other critical systems, including firefighting, IT, lightning protection, and security, are yet to be installed in the IHC building.
Besides, an engineer’s concerns about elevator issues were previously raised in letters, but the matter was seemingly neglected.
The engineer highlighted discrepancies in the lift operating panels and inconsistencies in electrical and mechanical systems in his correspondence.