SHAHZAD AHMAD

LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday sought replies from the Punjab government and others on a petition challenging appointment of LDA vice chairmen and four members who “belong to the ruling party”.

Hearing the petition, Justice Shahid Kareem issued notices to the respondents, including the chief secretary. The petitioner says that under the impugned notification dated October 23, the secretary for housing and urban planning appointed Sheikh Imran LDA vice chairman, Imtiaz Mahmood vice chairman, Naeem Rafique member, Muhammad Fiaz member, Aamir Riaz Qureshi member and Major (r) Syed Byrhan Ali member.

He says the secretary violated the Lahore Development Authority Act, 1975; the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 and judgments of superior courts.

The petition says the Punjab government be directed to reconstitute the LDA body without any political accommodation by framing a merit-based and uniform criteria for vice chairmen and members in accordance with the law.

The petitioner says the secretary appointed vice chairmen and members in violation of law. He says the govt has failed to uphold merit and transparency. He says that LDA consists of secretaries of government of Punjab, Lahore commissioner and other such officers. However, illegal appointees, who are directly running business of the same nature, have been inducted to run the authority without judging their ability and professional qualifications. He alleges that beyond doubt they “belong to the ruling party and have been accommodated in an illegal and unlawful manner”.

He says that appointment of a vice chairman or any member of the authority cannot be made in an arbitrary manner. Such appointments are made with due care. A clear criterion has to be defined for such appointments; they should not be made on political basis, he says. Imtiaz Mahmood has directly been nominated vice chairman in utter disregard for Section 4-A of the LDA Act, 1975, he says. Naeem Rafique and Haji Fiaz have been appointed members in an arbitrary and unlawful manner, he said. Appointments are against the law so they cannot sustain. “Haji Fiaz is a real estate agent and his office address is 18-C, Civic Centre, Faisal Town, Lahore. He is dealing with LDA in respect of his business for years,” the petitioner said.

“Amir and Byrhan Ali are not technical experts. The latter is an employee and executive director of Ejaz Group. Lake City Housing Scheme is owned by this group and is also running the scheme,” the petitioner said.

The respondents are not eligible for being members of the LDA and there is a conflict of interest between their professions and public offices.

It is need of the hour that all these nominations may very be declared illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and fresh nominations be made on merit, the petitioner said.