IHC orders halt to work on Bhara Kahu bypass project
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Ordering stoppage of work on the Bhara Kahu bypass project until the next hearing, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday sought reply from the federal government in the case, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
During the hearing of the petition filed by the professors of the Quaid-e-Azam University against the project, which was conceived to facilitate the tourists as well as the residents of Murree, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Galyat, Kashif Malik, the petitioner’s lawyer, argued that the land on which the bypass was being built actually belonged to the university.
The court, on the occasion, asked him whether the project was of public interest; whether a portion of the university’s building had been demolished to create space for the road.
The court said in Saudi Arabia even mosques were razed to the ground for such development schemes.
The petitioners’ lawyer went on to say that the project was in fact violation of the master plan. “Actually the road passes through the university’s land,” he added.
Counsel for the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Nazir Jawad, on the other hand, said that his client would suffer an irreparable loss in case work on the bypass was stopped.
He told the court that work on the project had been initiated after getting the approval of the university administration. “The administration even gave us possession of the land,” he said, and added, “The university gave us 200 kanals of land. In return the CDA gave to the university 225 kanals of land as a substitute.”
The court asked whether the CDA had possession of the land which it had given to the university.
CDA’s lawyer replied that the plot which the Authority had given to the university was flawless.
He further said that the university administration had to pay CDA’s Rs1 billion.
The court cut him short and asked him to refrain from levelling accusations only to pressurize the opposite party.
The court also made an observation that it appeared as if the CDA had given more precious land to the university.
It also wondered how stay could be granted in the case when the university’s building was not being affected by that.
The petitioners’ counsel, on the occasion, told the court that not only the university would suffer but the trees situated on the project site were also being cut.
The IHC asked CDA’s lawyer whether his client had sought an opinion from any agency on the viability of the scheme from the environmental point of view.
The bench ordered stoppage of work on the bypass unless the Environmental Protection Agency gave a go-ahead signal for that.
Reporter: Ehtesham Kiyani