The Architects-Studio Tariq Hassan who are consultant of under-construction building of Islamabad High Court, a Rs 2.8 billion mega project, are neither registered nor enlisted with Pakistan Engineering Council, Pakistan Today has reliably learnt.

As per provisions of Pakistan Engineering Council’s by-laws, all firms are required to obtain a license from the council before undertaking the execution of engineering works or consultancy services. When contacted Pakistan Engineering Council to verify the credentials of engineering firm, the officials confirmed that no firm with the name of The Architects-Studio Tariq Hassan is registered with PEC.

Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights has provided the funds for the project. The ministry is also the client department. The contract of the whole project has been given to Messrs Habib Rafique (Pvt) Ltd, Lahore and consultancy services are provided by Messrs The Architects-Studio Tariq Hassan, Karachi, while the executing agency is Pakistan Public Works Department (Pak PWD).

It is pertinent to mention here that out of a total allocation of Rs 1.2 billion for year 2017-18 for PSDP, the Ministry of Law and Justice has earmarked Rs 500 million for the construction of Islamabad High Court building in Red Zone, the project is estimated to be completed till June 30, 2018. The groundbreaking of Islamabad High Court’s new building spanning on five acres was done by former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on November 5, 2013.

‘Both extension of Federal Judicial Academy and Islamabad High Court’s new buildings were product of a former chief justice’s imagination. Even at that time, the Ministry of Law and Justice had clearly showed its reservations over the huge costs and their utility for the public at large,’ said a well-placed source at Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights.

Previously, the construction work on new IHC building had hit a snag in April, 2015, when the allegations related to lack of transparency in the pre-qualification of the contractor firm ‘Interhome’ came to the fore. The contract was cancelled for not being in accordance with rules of PEPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority) and the new contract was awarded to Habib Rafique (Pvt) Ltd.

According to a news story previously published in this paper, a vast number of local and foreign construction companies, working on various federal and provincial governments’ projects throughout the country, do not possess a valid license. The PEC undergoes severe difficulties in monitoring the quality of work when projects are awarded to unregistered firms. PEC has time and again issued notices and warnings to such effect, however, it has observed that some organisations are awarding works to constructors, operators or consultants either not registered with the PEC

The Pakistan Engineering Council is a statutory body constituted under Pakistan Engineering Act, 1976, and is entrusted with the responsibility to regulate the engineering profession in the country. One of its primary functions is registration and regulation of activities of professional engineers, consulting engineers, constructors and operators.

When contacted The Architects-Studio Tariq Hassan for a comment, the operator told this scribe that their director and owner Tariq Hassan was out of country and forwarded the call to senior architect. When asked about the firm having PEC membership, he answered in affirmative adding that their director was out of the country and they were not in the position to give a detailed comment.