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Full Version: Lahore High Court On Monday stayed Demolition
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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday stayed demolition of many houses, some located in posh Bahria Town, for widening of Ring Road project.

A division bench headed by Justice Shahid Karim and Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi took up the appeal filed by the aggrieved residents of Bahria Town. The bench issued notices to the Punjab government and sought reply on the next hearing, July 24.

Earlier, a single bench comprised of Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan dismissed petitions of Bahria Town and its residents challenging construction of Ring Road project in their area. On previous hearing, Advocate Hamayun Faiz Rasool and others appeared on behalf of Advocate Azhar Siddique who could not come up after falling ill, and requested the court to adjourn the hearing for Monday. The government’s lawyer and lawyer of Ring Road authority had already completed their arguments. After hearing the parties, Justice Khan dismissed the petitions.

On Monday, Commissioner Abdullah Sumbal, additional advocate general Shan Gull and Samia Khalid appeared before the court and raised their concerns that Justice Karim should not hear this case as he remained part of the full bench. The law officers also requested the bench to dismiss the appeal saying that single bench’s written judgment was not issued yet.

Commissioner Abdullah Sumbal while answering a query about possible destruction of houses said that the houses would be demolished after consent of the town and house of anybody would not be demolished forcibly. The appellants said that in 2008, the
government issued notices under Section 4 of Land Acquisition Act for southern loop of Ring Road Authority. They said the government removed Section 5-A and Section 5 under which they had the right to file objection against acquisition of land. This removal was unconstitutional, they said. In 2015, the government acquired their land under Section 15 (4) of the Act and did not give them the right to objection, the petitioners said.

The petitioners’ counsel had argued that the law under which the government was acquiring land was challenged before the high court and a full bench of the LHC was hearing the matter. The government authorities, he said, were acquiring people's land like any emperors and denying compensation to the victims.

After hearing both sides, the bench stayed construction of the project and sought reply from the government.
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