LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday sought reply from Lahore Development Authority (LDA) over a contempt petition against the Orange Line Metro Train authorities.

A division bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh passed the order on contempt petitions filed by different a number of citizens against the authorities concerned for not complying with a stay order against construction work within 200-feet radius of 11 heritage sites protected under the laws.

The court directed an additional advocate general to ensure compliance of the stay order and submit a reply on behalf of the LDA and other authorities concerned on the alleged violation.

The court would resume hearing on tomorrow (Thursday).

Advocate Azhar Siddique, the petitioners’ counsel, told the bench that the bench that LDA had not abandoned the construction work in light of the stay order issued by the court.

The government had misled the court about distance of the metro train’s track with the heritage sites, he added.

He further pointed out that the elevated track of the train would pass at a distance of 49 feet from Chauburji whereas the government quoted it as 61 feet.

“The track will be only seven-feet away from Shalimar Gardens,” said Advocate Siddiqui, adding that the shrine of Hazrat Baba Mauj Darya would also be demolished for the track.

On January 28, a division bench of LHC had stayed construction near 11 sites including Shalimar Gardens, Gulabi Bagh Gateway, Buddhu ka Awa, Chauburji, Zebunnisa’s Tomb, Lakhshmi Building, General Post Office, Aiwan-i-Auqaf, Supreme Court’s Lahore registry building, St Andrews Presbyterian Church at Nabha Road and Baba Mauj Darya Bukhari Shrine.

Verdict reserved: The Lahore High Court yesterday reserved verdict on petitions challenging emergency procedure being imposed by Punjab government to acquire land for development projects in three divisions of Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, remarked that the court would interpret emergency procedure in its order.

Muhammad Yaqub of Gujrat and others had challenged the acquisition of land for Nawaz Sharif Medical College, Mehboob Ali of Narowal and acquisition for construction of Women College and School.

The petitioners’ counsel told the bench that the government had imposed emergency to acquire land and was not giving appropriate compensations for their lands.

The counsel said the government was building Ring Road on Multan Road and forcing people to leave their houses and shops immediately. Aashiana Housing , Degree College for Women, Narowal, District Hospital Bhawana Siakot and other projects were being built, they said.

They submitted that the notifications issued to the citizens did not show any reason behind emergency imposed for acquiring land. People were losing their houses and shops but unfortunately the government was not doing any thing for the affectees, they said. The petitioners prayed the court to stop the government from acquiring land, destroying their homes in emergency.

The commissioners and collectors land appeared before the court and submitted their replies saying that the projects were being built for the larger public interests. Azhar Siddique, the counsel of the petitioners, opposed the government’ stance that emergency was needed for these projects.

After hearing both sides, the bench reserved verdict on the petitions.

DPO ORDERED TO PROTECT MAN FROM ENCOUNTER: The Lahore High Court yesterday ordered DPO Shiekhupura to ensure protection of a citizen from police encounter.

The court also directed a law officer to telephonically inform DPO about court’s order and disposed of the petition.

Manzar, a resident of Sadar police station of Sheikhupura, filed a petition submitting that some of his relatives wanted him dead over a controversy of a piece of land. They had close contact with police and would get him killed in fake police encounter, he said.

He also said that few months back, he got a court order for the protection of his family members and now he himself was under threat. He said he would not press his petition if the DPO Sheikhupura was directed to ensure his protection.

A law officer present there in the court did not object to the submissions of the petitioner. After hearing both sides, the court directed DPO to provide protection to Manzar and disposed of the petition.