Metro bus: ‘My land was acquired without compensation’

Passport DG has been summoned in Russian woman’s petition.


Our Correspondent April 11, 2014
File photo of a metro bus. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE:


Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan of the Lahore High Court on Thursday summoned the Lahore division commissioner regarding a petition challenging land acquisition for the Metro Bus System track.


The petitioner alleged that perquisites had not been fulfilled, and he had not been paid compensation. Zameer Hussain said the government had acquired 19 marlas of his land to construct the MBS track at Qurtaba Chowk.

He said the government had not issued the required notifications or a prior notice.  He said a year and a half had passed and he had not received compensation.

The petitioner asked the court to order the government to issue notifications and pay compensation with an 8 per cent compounded mark-up. The judge adjourned the hearing till April 18 and directed the commissioner to appear in person with a record of the case.

Passport DG summoned

Justice Shah Khawar took serious notice of the passport director general’s (DG) failure to submit a response sought by the court.

He had been asked for his comments on a Russian woman’s petition seeking the cancellation of her daughter and her former husband’s Pakistani passports.

The judge asked the DG to file a reply by May 28. Inna Polikarpova said she had married Ahmad Naseem of Gujranwala in Japan six years ago. She said she had embraced Islam before marriage and had been given the name Ayesha.

She said they had a daughter. She alleged that her husband had secretly returned to Pakistan with their daughter. She said that when she arrived in Pakistan, he fled to an African country with her daughter.

She asked the court to cancel their passports. A counsel has meanwhile submitted a letter of attorney on behalf of Naseem, stating that he wants to join the court proceedings.

Surveillance technology

A Lahore High Court bench on Thursday adjourned till June 5 the proceedings of a petition against the alleged set-up of a surveillance technology, FinFisher, in Pakistan.

Bytes for All chairman Shahzad Ahmad, had alleged that FinFisher software was being used to monitor and obtain information from citizens by placing the Trojan software on their computers. He had argued that the fundamental right to privacy was in danger.

His counsel, Yasser Latif Hamdani, had submitted a recent public report, issued on April 30, 2013, by the international watchdog Citizen Lab, which indicated that Pakistan was one of the 36 countries that had FinFisher command and control systems.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority had ownership of the server concerned. He said this meant that either someone in the government was operating the FinFisher software or that this was being done with the government’s knowledge.

He said use of the Finfisher software in countries where certain groups may wish to exercise control on expression and curb political dissidents would be extremely repressive.

Hamdani said that FinFisher had been criticised for undermining citizens’ privacy. It has been used by repressive regimes to crack down on human rights defenders and activists. He said the most notable example was in Egypt where the government deployed it to curb political dissent in 2011.

He requested the court to ask the Ministry of Information why a FinFisher Command and Control server was operational in Pakistan and who had authorised its deployment.

Hamdani said operation of such software not only threatened citizens’ right to privacy but also the sovereignty of the country.

Hamdani also asked the court to issue directions to immediately stop FinFisher’s operations in Pakistan and to direct the appropriate law enforcement agencies to seize the equipment used for the purpose and data it had collected.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2014.

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