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PHA admits plaza land was rented

THE Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) on Tuesday admitted before the Lahore High Court that the land where the Liberty Park and Ride Plaza had been built was previously in the authority s possession and was rented out.

The counsel for the PHA further stated in the court that the land in question was rented out owing to some misunderstanding.

At this, the petitioner s counsel submitted that after the confession by the PHA, it had been established that the plaza was built on a park owned by the authority and it had rented out some part of the park.

Muhammad Azhar Siddique advocate argued that the construction of the plaza was clear violation of many Supreme Court judgments and recent decision by the LHC in the Doongi Ground, Gulberg, case.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed remarked that the PHA had admitted its mistake and similarly, the Lahore development authority (LDA) would also follow the suit but the responsible would have to pay the price.

Construction of the plaza has also marred the beauty of the Liberty Chowk, the judge further remarked. The judge directed the PHA s counsel to produce sitemap and record of renting out prior to construction of the plaza on the next hearing. The hearing was postponed until October 13.

Many shopkeepers of the Liberty Market had filed the petition against construction of the plaza, pleading that the land was originally allocated for a park. They said the land was an open space, owned by the PHA, which illegally transferred it to the LDA for construction of the plaza.

They said that shops were constructed for running business in the plaza which was badly affecting their business. They requested the court to declare that open space was still in the ownership and control of the PHA and that all subsequent transactions or transfers of it by any authority were without any legal jurisdiction and had to be treated as nullities in the law.

The petitioners also challenged closure of roads to facilitate the plaza by installing small poles and chains and erecting huge plants. They referred to a judgment of the LHC reported as PLD 2004, and argued that establishment of the food street/sit-out café on The Mall on public streets were without authority. They said the court had also declared that every member of public had a right to pass and travel in the public streets as the public had right over the width and length of the street and its each inch and that nobody had the authority and jurisdiction to cut this right even to an inch. The counsel reproduced the order and prayed to the court that traders, visiting customers and public at large be allowed to use the public streets, namely HKB Street and Al-Fateh Street.

pay release: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday ordered the Jhang district health officer to pay withheld dues to a watchman who had being denied his salary for 18 years.

Munir Ahmad, the watchman in a rural health centre, had pleaded that he was appointed on April 10, 1993 but his was not paid. He said he had made several representations to the DCO but to no avail.

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