PHC pauses uplift works until general elections

Caretaker government can only address day-to-day affairs, remarks judge

November 30, 2023
A police official stands guard outside the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in this file photo. — APP

PESHAWAR: As the general elections draw closer, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to immediately halt work on all the ongoing development projects until the democratic exercise is carried out in the province.

The general elections are slated to be held on February 8, 2024.

A two-member bench of the PHC, comprising Justice Ijaz Anwar and Justice S M Attique Shah made the observation while hearing multiple petitions seeking the court’s order against the uplift project ahead of the upcoming polls.

The petitioners were of the view that the uplift projects were aimed at winning the field weeks before the next elections.

At the outset of today’s hearing, the court ordered to resume work on the development projects after the next elections.

“The caretaker government does not have mandate over the development projects,” argued the petitioner's lawyer, adding that the uplift projects were launched after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced a date for the polls.

At this, Justice Anwar noted that the caretaker government can only address the day-to-day affairs and asked, “How will the development work be done after the election is announced?”

In response to a question, Mohsin Kamran, counsel of ECP, assured the court that the elections would be held on February 8.

Additional advocate general apprised the court that the different uplift projects were launched in Bannu, Waziristan, and other areas ahead of the caretaker setup in the province, adding that the development projects would benefit the people.

Justice Attique Shah asked why the caretakers were showing so much interest in the development works. The additional advocate general replied: “These works [uplift projects] have been started before the caretaker government.”

“Everyone knows the ground realities,” remarked the judge.

Justice Anwar noted that “blue-eyed” people start installing their “name plates” on every project when elections draw closer. He directed that the work on the development projects be resumed after the February 8 elections.