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Full Version: Lahore: High-rises: Lawlessness can’t be allowed, says SC
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HEARING cases of illegal high-rise buildings, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday came hard on the Punjab government’s top officers, observing that the lawlessness in the country cannot be tolerated.

Punjab Chief Secretary Javed Mehmood, DG Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Shahid Mehmood along with Legal Adviser to LDA Salman Butt and others appeared before a full bench headed by Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday of the Supreme Court.

City District Nazim Mian Amir Mehmood could not appear for being out of the country.

Taking strict view of illegal and substandard constructions of the high-rises, the bench draw attention of the provincial authorities to the establishment of an Authority in Karachi to exclusively deal with the development of commercial sites for considering constitution of one in Punjab on the same pattern.

Justice Ramday also expressed sorrow over the loss of lives due to insufficient facilities in a plaza in Gujranwala in a recent fire incident and said those who violated the law and played with the lives of the innocent would be taught a strict lesson. The bench also expressed its concern over a rapid increase in the construction of high-rises in the city and feared about another cooperative scandal as the owners of the plazas would run away selling out illegal buildings to the citizens.

Justice Ramday observed that the court was not against development in the country and construction of tall buildings but the construction of the buildings should be within the framework of the rules.

Javed Mehmood informed the bench that the government was sincerely working to address the situation and to end the lawlessness. He said it would require some time to chalk out an action plan in this regard to the satisfaction of the court. He said recommendations in this regard were being prepared. Justice Ramday appreciated the CS and said the court would provide every possible help if asked as it was a matter of great public importance and the court cannot close its eye to it.

Giving time to the Chief Secretary to make the plan, the court adjourned further proceedings on the petitions until May 18. Justice Fakir Muhammad Khokhar and Justice Syed Sakhi Hussain Bokhari, the other members of the bench, also expressed their dissatisfaction over the construction of tall commercial sites without any legal framework.

The bench referred the provincial officers to a three-year old order of the court to the LDA for appointment of a structural engineer, which has not been implemented so far and also noted that town councils have been involved to see constructions as per law but they do not have even overseers to monitor them what to say of other experts. Justice Fakir Khokhar also mentioned an evil practice in the LDA where even the clerks were possibly involved in facilitating illegal constructions by way of holding back the site plans for 60 days after which it automatically stood approved without any presentation before the Committee.

At this, Justice Ramday directed the Chief Secretary to remove corrupt elements from the Authority.
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