Concrete jungle: As courts go green, trees vanish from SHC

The greenery was removed to make way for a stone fountain.

Our Correspondent May 26, 2012

KARACHI: Healthy trees, including a Neem and Ashoka tree, that stood outside the Sindh High Court building have been uprooted to make room for a new structure – a fountain made of red stone.

Ironically, this is being done at a time when the superior courts announced that they will establish a court to hear cases on the environment.

Green courts were planned so that no one would cut trees to make space for huge commercial plazas or giant billboards.

“We have removed the trees and planted them elsewhere,” said a gardener working at the Sindh High Court. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he said that he was against the construction of the fountain and that as a gardener, he loves greenery. “I oppose the idea, but the proposal came from the upper echelons and no one could dare to speak against it.”

Sindh High Court officials refused to divulge details about the project, including the expenditure being incurred.

Litigants and other visitors used to sit in the shade cast by the trees, which provided relief to them on hot days, said a senior lawyer who was also against the construction of the fountain. “What was once a beautiful spot will give way to an eyesore,” he said.

Qazi Ali Athar Advocate, a campaigner for the environment, said that courts themselves have banned cutting trees and have barred the city governments as well as other departments from chopping them in a number of public interest litigations. Nobody would prefer stone structures over green pastures, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.


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