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There is ‘monarchy’ in the name of democracy in Pakistan, says CJP

Islamabad: Supreme Court Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali on Thursday remarked that there is monarchy in the name democracy and bad governance under the garb of good governance in Pakistan.

During hearing of the case pertaining to construction of Lahore’s Orange Line Metro train project, the petitioner told the apex court that Punjab government initiates the project first and acquires no objection certificate (NOC) later.

Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali stated that people need to stand against these actions.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said only concerning matter in the case is regarding protection of heritage sites.

We will not tolerate any damage to these structures, he added.

Meanwhile, the five-member bench directed the provincial government and plaintiffs to submit names of three experts each who will review technical reports pertaining to the project.

The case hearing was adjourned till October 14.

The Supreme Court had formed a five-member larger bench on Sept 26 to review Punjab government’s plea against Lahore High Court’s (LHC) verdict in Orange Line train project case.

On August 19, the Lahore High Court had barred the provincial authorities from carrying out construction work within a distance of 200 feet around 11 heritage sites including Shalamar Gardens, Gulabi Bagh Gateway, Chauburji, Buddhu ka Awa, Zebunnisa’s Tomb, Lakshmi Building, General Post Office, Aiwan-e-Auqaf, SC Lahore registry building, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at Nabha Road and Baba Mauj Darya Bukhari’s Shrine.

The heritage sites are protected under the Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, 1985 and Antiquity Act, 1975.
During the case hearing, counsel for Mass Transit Authority (MTA) informed the Supreme Court that LHC’s verdict should be suspended as the project is facing delay.

Orange Line Train project is a move by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif-led government to connect parts of Lahore with fast tracked transit for commuters and visitors.

The project received a lot of flak from the opposition especially Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for allegedly neglecting the ‘real’ needs of the people and spending humongous amounts of budget on Orange Line project.

The project also came under scrutiny earlier after reports of alleged corruption and embezzlement surfaced. The government was accused of bias in the handing the contract and colluding with the contractor.

It should also be mentioned that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has also expressed concern over the routes of the project.