SC’s realistic observations

THE prolonged controversy over construction of Orange Line project in provincial capital of Punjab seems to be heading for resolution if observations made by five-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, which is hearing identical petitions on the issue, are to be taken as a clue. The court remarked during hearing on Monday that it has no issue with the project but it cannot allow any physical damage to cultural heritage sites located along its route.
We have been pleading in these columns that cases involving developmental activities may be disposed of expeditiously in view of their importance. No doubt, it is Judiciary’s responsibility and duty to hear all those who have been wronged or who claim to have been wronged but we ought to strike a balance between development and infringement of any rights. As categorically stated by the bench no one can be allowed to harm heritage sites physically and this is what the Punjab Government has been trying to prove. The video documentary shown by NESPAK on Monday to the bench was aimed at clarifying that no structural damage had been done to heritage sites during construction of the mass transit system, nor is there any visual impairment of the monuments. The points highlighted in the video have also been supported by experts of UET Lahore and engineering consultants TYPSA. There are reasons to believe that some elements are opposing the projects purely on political considerations and hopefully the court would take this into account while going for final disposal of the case. Judiciary ought not allow itself to be distracted by such elements as malicious intentions of similar elements became evident when they opposed expansion project of Islamabad Expressway on the pretext of harming environment. The court, however, might seek firm guarantees from the Punjab Government for preservation of all sites on the train route as Lahore owes its beauty to these and similar other buildings.

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