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LAHORE, July 1: The Lahore High Court on Monday suspended operation of a notification issued by city district government of Lahore about banning construction in the area surrounding Jati Umra (Raiwind), allegedly to favour Sharifs, the leaders of ruling PML-N.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah issued a stay order against the impugned notification and sought replies from the government and Lahore Development Authority by July 4.

Advocate Noshab A. Khan had filed a public interest petition, pleading the CDGL had on March 1, 2013 issued a notification after which development of new public and private housing schemes on 2000 acre land around Jati Umrah was stopped with immediate effect. He said under the CDGL notification the area (around Jati Umra) could not be used for any construction or agricultural purposes.

The lawyer said the attempt to cordon off and earmark the subject area was tantamount to declaring it an estate for political figures residing there.

He argued that the impugned notification was a sheer violation of fundamental rights of the people living in the vicinity or owning underdeveloped housing colonies there.

Moreover, he said the notification was not based upon any master plan duly approved by the concerned authority as per relevant law.

He said the gigantic changes made without undertaking the prescribed procedure changed the complexion of the subject area.

He further pointed out that before introducing such changes in the land use in the area neither stakeholders were consulted nor objections were invited from them.

Even no advertisements were published in newspapers regarding the changes that was mandatory under the law, he added.

The petitioner prayed to the court to set aside the impugned notification being illegal and unconstitutional.