LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday stayed construction of all commercial buildings inside Walled City, with directions to preserve imambargah located at Kashmiri Gate.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah observed as to how the commercial activities were started in a city which is heritage of every country. He expressed concerns as to why the laws were not being implemented to save the heritage.  The CJ adjourned further hearing until September 26.

Asif Ali Mirza, Abdul Razzak and Judicial Activism Panel chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique filed the petitions against construction of multi-storey commercial buildings inside walled city in violation of a stay order.

They submitted that the court had already stayed construction of 136 multi-storey buildings identified by Lahore Walled City Authority (LWCA) but so far it was not stopped. They stated that the walled city authority was responsible to preserve Walled City, which was a national heritage, and it had lodged formal FIRs against 136 developers over doing illegal constructions. 

They said the developers, especially the residents of the area got permissions from the Town Municipal Administration for constructions in the area while Lahore Development Authority was also responsible for passing maps of the new buildings in the area.

They said the place of worship is an Imam bargah located at Kashmiri Gate, Lahore and the illegal construction has caused crake in the walls of the 200-year-old Imam bargah. They apprehended that in case the construction is not stopped the worship place is likely to collapse very soon.

They further said the petitioner had also obtained license under section 30 of Act V, 1861 and the competent authority for conducting worship and taking out “tazia” Moharram Procession granted the same.  They also stated that the petitioner had also moved an application to the Punjab chief minister for redressal of grievance.

They informed the court that the chief minister complaint cell on November 1, 2013 had had directed the superintendent of police city, Lahore to look into the matter and take necessary action as per law.

It was unfortunate, even the directions of the chief minister to the higher police officer were still hanging and not formally implemented for redressal of grievance of the petitioner.

They requested to direct to demolish the illegal plaza. They also requested for appropriate actions against the concerned persons who had authorized such commercial activities and constructions which within the jurisdiction of walled city.