ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan has issued orders for removal of all the billboards installed in civil and Cantonment areas across the country.

During a hearing regarding billboards in Lahore, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that orders for removal of billboards were given for Karachi earlier, but would be applicable for other cities as well.

He also asked under which authority were billboards installed within the administrative jurisdiction of railways and Parks and Horticulture Authority in Lahore, observing that it could not be done on public property.

“If anyone wants to put up advertisements, they should do it on private property, which was also stated on the order given for Karachi,” the chief justice remarked.

According to Justice Nisar, removal of billboards would make Karachi look very neat. Therefore, he suggested the same should be done in other parts of the country as well.

Justice Ejazul Ahsan, who was also present at the hearing, said putting up billboards on footpaths was a threat to lives of pedestrians.

The counsel representing National Highway Authority (NHA) at the hearing said they did not put up any billboard on public property and give the required permission in accordance with the law.

He added that whatever billboard were installed across the cities were standing on the property of NHA. To this, the chief justice asked if NHA was a private property.

Moreover, Justice Ahsan remarked that billboards affected the landscape of a city.

But Cantonment Board lawyer, Lateef Khosa, present at the hearing, said they were running a hospital with money earned through the billboards. Justice Nisar said money should be earned by keeping the laws in mind.

After listening to the arguments, the chief justice ordered authorities concerned to remove billboards on public land across the city within a month and a half.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also sought reply from Principal Secretary of Chief Minister Punjab on dysfunctional of Punjab Healthcare Commission's Board, within a day.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar sought reply while hearing a case regarding overcharging, lack of facilities, carelessness and negligence in Private Medical Sector Hospitals.

During the course of proceedings, the Bench was informed that private hospitals namely Doctor Hospital and National Hospital now providing free beds to its patient, voluntarily.

It was informed that private hospitals also waived some other hospitalisation charges for patients to facilitate them.

Chief Justice appreciated the steps taken by the private hospitals administration, and said "if someone do good then it should be appreciated".

He said that Punjab Healthcare Commission would be the authority to approve the rates of the services provided by the private hospitals.

However, he expressed annoyance over dysfunctional of Commission Board and sought reply on the matter from the concerned authorities.

Meanwhile, a representative of a private hospital apprised the Bench that dirty taps (Ganda Nala) were flowing before some hospitals openly.

He said that hospital administration requested the Director General Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) to cover the dirty tap but he did not bother as yet.

Chief Justice said that if WASA cover the Nala then hospital would not make car parking on it and directed DG WASA to appear before the court on next hearing.

Subsequently, the court adjourned further hearing of the case till November 16. Next hearing of case would take place at Lahore registry, CJ remarked.