The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday extended the stay order on the construction of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro Bus Project in a specific area after two petitioners had moved the court alleging alteration in the original master plan for political reasons.
LHC Justice Shah Khawar, while hearing the petitions, extended the stay order till August 12 and sought replies from the Punjab government and Rawalpindi Development Authority.
On July 18, a stay order was issued by LHC Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi on the extent of the disputed property of the petitioners near Rehmanabad.
The main petitioner, Sheikh Iftikhar Adil, is the owner of a local newspaper whose office building, according to him, will be demolished due to an alteration in the original master plan by members of the ruling party. The other petitioner is Risal Khan, who lives next to the building owned by Adil.
Adil maintained that his building was not on the bus route in the original master plan that was prepared by Nespak consultants. In that plan, some plazas alongside Murree Road that belong to a sitting provincial assembly member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and his relatives were to be demolished, said Adil.
He alleged that in the altered plan they decided to demolish his building instead and termed the act illegal.
The other petitioner, Risal Khan, through his counsel, maintained that the original master plan was altered due to the political victimisation of his neighbour. Khan’s counsel informed the court that his client was being victimised in someone else’s battle.
He claimed that Adil’s son was running against Metro Bus Project Chairman Hanif Abbasi in the 2013 general elections and this is why the plan was altered to demolish Adil’s office building.
The counsel said the decision was taken due to political reasons and requested the court to grant a stay order. The court, while extending the stay order, adjourned the matter till August 12.
Meanwhile two more petitions have been filed in the court against the metro bus project by shopkeepers of the Committee Chowk.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2014.