PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has set aside a notification by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government in which the government had cancelled leasing licences for exploration and excavation of phosphate in Abbottabad.
A two-member bench comprising PHC Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Syed Sajjad Hassan Shah was informed on Thursday that the provincial government had cancelled a licence in July 2011 by an unauthorised officer prior to issuing a show cause notice.
Attiq Shah and Rahila Mughal, counsels for petitioner Rukhsana Javed, informed the bench that it was mandatory to issue a show cause notice to the licence holder to submit a reply before suspending or cancelling the licence under the Mining Rule 56 of NWFP (K-P), adding that their licence was cancelled twice without any notice.
They added that the director-general of the mining and minerals department is supposed to issue or cancel the licence, but the notification was issued by an assistant director of the department.
The bench was informed that some area had been cancelled from the allocated 498 acres for mining and their licence was cancelled for allegedly mining in prohibited areas. An enquiry had been conducted which also proved that the forbidden areas were not excavated.
“We have gone through the investigation report which does not say that the petitioner has violated any rule, hence it proves that all actions taken against the petitioner were based on ill intentions,” the chief justice said.
“All the orders issued for cancellation of licences have been issued without lawful authority and are being set aside,” the court ordered.
While talking to journalists, Mughal said that it had taken around 15 years to develop the mines and added that an imported phosphate bag costs Rs4,000 , while a local one costs Rs800.
She said that the project earned millions of rupees in terms of royalty, but was being destroyed by political interference.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2012.