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August 8, 2018

LHC orders LDA to unseal Safma office

Lahore

August 8, 2018

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to unseal journalists training institution South Asia Free Media Association (Safma) immediately and sought reply from LDA director general.

Advocate Saiful Malook appeared on behalf of Safma’s secretary general Imtiaz Alam and argued that organisation was the only training institution for journalists in South Asia. He said training institutions and libraries situated in residential areas could not be sealed under the LDA rules.

He said the LDA’s move to seal Safma office was an attempt to curb freedom of press in the country and it was done without any legal justification. He requested the court to direct the LDA to de-seal Safma office immediately.

Representing LDA, Barrister Salman Safdar defended LDA action of sealing Safma office and presented record pertaining to the building. After hearing both sides, Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi issued an interim order to de-seal Safma office and LDA directed director general to submit a reply by next date of hearing, September 13. Later, talking to the media, Imtiaz Alam termed the court order historical one and claimed that court removed a hurdle in the way of freedom of press.

He said LDA had given free hand to land grabbers but Safma office was closed down to stifle the voice of independent media. He said LDA had become a hub of extortion and it had joined hands with land grabbers who in return greased the palms of its officials to carry out their illegal activities.