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LAHORE: A stretch of around 300 meter area on the Lower Mall is being ‘illegally’ occupied by the legal community for many years for the purpose of parking lots, causing a great deal of inconvenience to motorists

These illegal parking lots are not only hindering the traffic flow but are also a major threat to security.

The authority, which is supposed to resolve the issue and take action against the influential people for running these parking lots illegally, has confined itself only to the extent of criticism.

At present, the area from secretariat to Aiwan-i-Adal and streets linking the Lower Mall, Commissioner’s Office, Election Commission Office, ETPB’s head office, lawyers’ chambers/offices, Lahore Bar Association, etc have almost been converted into parking lots, leaving no space for motorists to pass through these areas conveniently.

“If the situation continues to be ignored you will see one day the whole Lahore will be occupied by various mafias. The LBA has no authority to run parking lots on the state land and that too on main roads and streets of the city,” said former CDGL’s executive district officer (municipal services).

The official, who requested anonymity, said he had suggested building a parking plaza on the premises of the CDGL’s headquarters (NBP branch site) abutting the Lower Mall.

He said probably a summary/proposal had also been moved to the chief minister for approval in this regard.

He said an investigation should be conducted against those, including the LBA, involved in running parking lots unlawfully at these spots.

“Apart from the Lahore bar, I think some other people are also running the parking lots in streets linking the Lower Mall and other important offices,” he said.

Lahore Parking Company (LPC) managing director Taseer Ahmad said the issue was serious and required urgent attention.

“In this area, we are running only one parking lot near the Commissioner’s Office while all other sites are being operated by the LBA,” he added.

Mr Ahmed said the CDGL in association with the LPC would move a formal proposal to the government for the construction of a parking plaza on the premises of the Town Hall (NBP branch site) as soon as the new fiscal year started.

LBA secretary Naeem Khan Chohan said the negligence of the government had forced the legal community to convert roads and streets into parking lots.

“Currently at least 22,000 lawyers are on the enrolment of the LBA. Besides a large number of civil judges and clients also visit different courts every day. Who is responsible to provide parking facility to such a huge number of lawyers, judges and litigants,” he questioned.

He said the LBA had recently held meetings with the CM, the law minister and the ETPB chairman to resolve the issue.

“Since the government is not providing us even the annual grant, we have asked the government to construct a parking plaza at the eight kanal land of the ETPB to resolve the issue. The ETPB administration has almost agreed to the proposal,” he said.

The LBA secretary said that lawyers should also pay parking fee as no-one was above the law.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2016