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November 13, 2019

Court worried about rising pollution

Lahore

November 13, 2019

LAHORE:Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday expressed worries over alarmingly growing environmental pollution and observed that the situation needed effective measures by the authorities.

Advocate General of Punjab (AGP) Ahmad Jamal Sukhera and petitioners’ counsel Ahmad Rafay Alam and Azhar Siddique were present in the court. Referring to a report, Rafay said emissions of transport and industries were 80 percent of the air pollution.

“Switching over to electric automobiles, solar power systems and modern technology for brick kilns are some of the steps have been taken by many countries to protect the environment,” observed the judge while hearing two petitions filed against the failure of the government to control smog.

Siddique argued that the past governments had committed ‘terrorism’ with trees by falling them ruthlessly in the name of development projects. AGP Sukhera endorsed observations of the judge saying the environment was something which was important to everyone. Though Sukhera was not supposed to represent the federal government, he shared personal knowledge with the court saying there were official deliberations on introduction of electric cars.

He said the present government also had a policy of vertical construction instead of horizontal to save green areas. About shifting brick kilns on modern technology, he said it was a policy and political matter to be decided by the government.

To a query on bilateral talks with India on the issue of smog, Rafay said in past there had been an official correspondence between the chief ministers of Pakistan and India’s Punjab regarding the burning of crops stubble.

Justice Sheikh adjourned till November 19 directing the law officer and the petitioners’ counsel to sit together and come up with recommendations on the matter. APP adds: An accountability court on Tuesday adjourned hearing of Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing case till Nov 28.

Accountability Court Judge Amjad Nazir Ch conducted the case proceedings, wherein Fawad Hassan Fawad, Ahad Khan Cheema and other accused were produced. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) produced three witnesses including Shakeel Ahmad, Saqib Rehman and Riaz Hussain in compliance with the court directions. However, the statement of only one witness, Riaz Hussain, could be recorded during the proceedings. The court also summoned more witnesses for recording their statements, besides extending judicial remand of the accused.

The court also allowed application of opposition leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, seeking one-time exemption from personal appearance. A counsel for Shahbaz Sharif had filed the application for exemption, stating that the accused was in Islamabad to attend the National Assembly session.

Shahbaz Sharif and others had been indicted in Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing case. NAB had accused Shahbaz Sharif of misusing his authority, which resulted in failure of the project, depriving 61,000 applicants of possible ownership of housing units. NAB alleged that Shahbaz Sharif, in connivance with former DG LDA Ahad Cheema, awarded contract to a proxy. A Lahore High Court division bench had already granted bail to Shahbaz Sharif in Ashiana-e-Iqbal and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases.

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