LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing of petition seeking directives for the Punjab government to adopt measures to control manhole deaths.

Justice Shahid Jamil Khan took up the plea moved by a lawyer Zafar Mehmood.  During the hearing, Lahore deputy commissioner Wasa MD and the Investigation SP also showed up in the court. However, the proceedings adjourned without major development.  The Judge directed the officials to appear on the next date of hearing.

On October 20, the court directed Punjab chief secretary to submit reply to which steps were taken to stop manhole deaths. The court summoned the Lahore commissioner, LDA and Wasa chiefs.  The petitioner had submitted that deaths of children by falling into open manholes had become a routine in the city and the authorities instead of doing something had become silent spectators. He told the court a minor girl died after falling in a lidless manhole while playing in a Nawan Kot street. The local police carried out routine investigation and closed the case, he stated. He also said that another incident was reported from a private housing scheme on Canal Road. He prayed the court to order the government authorities to control the issue for protection of children.

Model Town report: Court seeks details of hiring of private lawyer

The Lahore High Court on Friday directed Punjab government to provide details of hiring of a private lawyer in an appeal challenging the decision of a single bench for the publication of Model Town inquiry report.

A full bench, headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, passed the order when the victims’ counsel pleaded that still they could not know the reason that why a private counsel was hired by the government in the case. During the proceedings, Advocate Azhar Siddique who was representing the victims argued that in the light of the SC judgment, the government cannot hire private counsel in the matter like Model Town inquiry report.  The Punjab government had hired Advocate Khwaja Haris as counsel to argue on the appeal. The victims’ counsel said that law officers were there but they were not representing the government. He said the fee was being paid from the national exchequer to the private lawyer which had no justification. Azhar also told the bench that the matter should not be referred to Chief Information Commissioner Naseer Bhutta as his impartiality was doubtful and his appointment had also been challenged in the Lahore High Court

Police Official’s counsel Azam Nazir Tarar  pleaded the court for adjournment for personal reasons. The bench accepted his request and put off further hearing until Oct 30.