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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday directed the deputy commissioner to decide in accordance with law an application for naming Shadman Chowk after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh who was hanged at the same square by the British rulers.

With this direction, Justice Shahid Jamil Khan disposed of a petition filed by Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation chairman Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi.

The petitioner’s counsel, Abdul Rashid Qureshi, contended that Bhagat Singh was a freedom fighter of the subcontinent and laid down his life along with his companions for the cause of freedom. He said Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had also paid tribute to Singh by saying there had never been such a brave person in the subcontinent.

He pleaded that it would be in the interest of justice to name Shadman Chowk after Bhagat Singh and also install a statue of the great freedom fighter at the square to inspire people. In the neighbouring India, the counsel said, there were many roads and thoroughfares named after the Muslim rulers like Akbar Road, Shahjahan Road and Bahadur Shah Road.

He said India also published tickets with the image of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the Aligarh University, and his statue was also installed there.

Advocate Qureshi told the court that an application had been filed before the chief secretary and the deputy commissioner of Lahore to the effect but no action had been taken so far. He asked the court to order the respondents to allow his application and name Shadman Chowk after Bhagat Singh and also install his statue at the square.

LDA, Wasa heads summoned

The Lahore High Court sought personal appearance of heads of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) in connection with a case pertaining to use of education institutions’ playgrounds for the construction of Orange Line Metro Train Project.

Earlier, legal adviser of Punjab University submitted before the court a copy of the agreement signed by former vice chancellor of the varsity Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and then director general of LDA Ahad Khan Cheema with Punjab Mass Transit Authority for the acquisition of its playground.

At this, petitioner Abdullah Malik pointed out that under the law a land allotted for park could not be acquired for any other purpose. However, he said, the administration of the Punjab University acted in violation of the law.

Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi observed it looked that the court would have to refer the matter to the National Accountability Bureau. The judge further observed that no concession would be given to violators. He summoned the LDA DG and Wasa MD for Thursday (today).

In another case, Justice Qureshi directed the assistant commissioner of cantonment to take strict action against encroachers of Mian Mir graveyard’s land.

Earlier, a report filed on behalf of the assistant commissioner stated that seven kanal and 13 marla of the graveyard’s land had been encroached upon by grabbers who illegally constructed shops.

The judge observed that no one would be allowed to grab even an inch of the state land. He directed the authorities to take action against the encroachers and evacuate the graveyard’s land.

The judge adjourned further hearing till Thursday (today) and also summoned officials of Auqaf department and Lahore deputy commissioner.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2018