LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Thursday ordered the Punjab government to announce a 50% attendance policy for private offices amid the worsening smog situation in several cities.
The order came during a hearing at the high court related to smog during which the Judicial Water and Environmental Commission also suggested to shut down schools, however, the court did not agree to the proposal.
The LHC, on the other hand, ordered a smog cell be created in the Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).
The high court also ordered authorities to issue a traffic plan to deal with the situation and directed them to set up a traffic emergency call line.
"Any citizen should be able to complaint about a traffic jam on the call line," said Justice Shahid Karim.
However, Punjab Environment Minister Mohammad Rizwan said the government is not ordering a lockdown as the situation has not reached a ‘dangerous’ level.
He said that there also is air pollution because of dust from development work going on in the city and said they have ordered to induce rain showers to control it.
The minister said that air pollution data is released according to a formula and information released 24 hours earlier is wrong.
He said that in Lahore there are only two monitors in place and the rest are out of order.
Lahore once again topped the air quality and pollution ranking index in the world Thursday.
In what should be seen as a worrying sign for Pakistanis, Karachi also features on the same global index at number eight.
As per the air quality index, the particulate matter level in Lahore has surged to 367, while in Karachi, it has climbed to 163.
India's capital New Delhi is placed number two on the list as its particular matter score was recorded at 259. China's Wuhan features on number three, with a 198 level particulate matter score.
The air quality index says a particulate matter level that lies between 151-200 is considered harmful for health, while a pollution level between 201-300 is considered extremely harmful for health.
Any pollution level exceeding more than 301 is recognised as "dangerous pollution".
Police also launched a crackdown on PTI Sindh leadership and arrested several workers
Saudi minister labelled Pakistan as an important ally and told the agency that Riyadh would stand behind Islamabad
Defence minister apologises for excessive use of force during raid at retired judge's residence
Imran Khan wants bloodshed in the country through the long march, says Maryam Nawaz
PTI Chairman Imran Khan says he will lead the "biggest procession in Pakistan’s history" tomorrow
Sindh and Punjab governments have decided to impose Section 144 to maintain law and order