Realising the danger of substandard CNG cylinders installed in public transport vehicles, the Lahore High Court ordered authorities last week to take action against owners of school vans, ambulances and motorcycle rickshaws that used such cylinders.
The order was issued on July 8 after a school van in Gujrat burned down and 17 students and their teacher died in it. The chief justice ordered the Education Department, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and police to submit reports by October 2.
The LHC chief justice issued the order on a petition seeking a judicial inquiry into the van incident. The petitioner submitted that in the incident, like in many others, sub-standard gas cylinder used was to blame. The incident raises the question of whether or not it is criminal negligence on the respondents’ part. The petitioner said it was the PTA and Traffic DIG’s responsibility to check all commercial vehicles and issue fitness certificates. However, such certificates were not being issued at all or issued illegally without an inspection.
On July 9, the LHC disposed of a petition for action against those responsible for the fire at the LDA Plaza that left as many as 24 people dead and several others injured. The LHC disposed of the petition after a law officer representing the government assured it that it would take strict action after fixing the responsibility for the fire. He said an investigation was afoot.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the government was trying to delay fixing the responsibility for the incident. He also said that not controlling the fire quickly was a failure on the part of Rescue-1122.
A counsel for the government submitted that an investigation into the matter was underway and those responsible would be brought to book.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of the LHC said that the media had erroneously reported that the court had removed Dr Rizwan Naseer as chairman of the Fire Safety Commission. The judge said no such order had been issued by the court.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob addressed the Lahore High Court Bar Association last week. He urged the new federal government to not abandon the Kashmir issue in its attempts to foster trade relations with India. He said the Kashmiris did not want to defeat India but wanted their right of expression and freedom. He said India should implement the United Nation resolution on the Kashmir issue. He said the federal government could construct dams in AJK to meet the country’s electricity needs. He also said that the Kashmiris wanted to see a strong Pakistan and were ready to offer any sacrifice for it. The president donated Rs300,000 for the LHCBA’s dispensary.
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on July 11 sought the load shedding schedule for the month of Ramazan. Justice Bandial issued the order after counsel for the petitioner, Muhammad Azhar Siddique, said that the authorities’ indifference towards citizen’s misery was evident from the fact that load shedding was continuing at sehr, iftar and taravee times. The government, said Siddique, was not giving any relief to citizens.
A counsel for the Ministry of Water and Power told the court that the government had devised a detailed plan to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all consumers at sehr, iftar and taravee. He said the government was also trying to control and improve the overall situation. The CJ then asked him to file the Ramazan load shedding schedule and adjourned the hearing for a week.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2013.