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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to restore Punjab University’s playground – famously known as University Ground near Jain Mandir to its original condition.

Earlier, Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi expressed annoyance over non-appearance of LDA Director General Amina Imran and directed her to ensure her presence on the next hearing.

The judge observed that if the DG did not appear on the next hearing, the court would order police to make her appear.

Justice Qureshi was hearing a petition challenging handing over playgrounds of Punjab University and Government College University to previous provincial government for construction of Orange Line Metro Train in Lahore.

Court annoyed to find DG absent

The judge summoned chief executives of three contractors of the train project - ZKB, Grace and Habib Construction on Friday (today).

Petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddiqui had argued that under the law a land allotted for park could not be used for any other purpose. He stated that the PU administration violated the law by handing over its ground to the government.

In a related case, the judge directed the Lahore police to immediately complete an ongoing operation against illegal parking stands on The Mall and submit a compliance report.

Justice Qureshi chided police authorities for failing to remove illegal parking lots on the main artery of the city.

The judge also sought a report from the chief settlement commissioner about illegal occupation of a government’s land situated on The Mall.

The court was informed that land grabbers mafia illegally occupied state land and properties for decades and no operation had been conducted against them.

The judge adjourned hearing till Sept 18 and also sought personal appearance of the relevant officials.

Plea against PM

An application has been filed in the Lahore High Court for early hearing of a petition challenging the election of Prime Minster Imran Khan for being invalid as at least 69 members of National Assembly abstained from voting, failing to perform their function of participation in the formation of the government.

Advocate A.K Dogar had filed the application.

On previous hearing of the main petition, Justice Shahid Waheed had issued notices to the federal government, Election Commission of Pakistan and two political parties in opposition for Nov 1. The judge had also allowed the petitioner to implead those assembly’s members who abstained from the voting.

However, the petitioner’s counsel in his fresh application urged the court to reschedule hearing of the case on an earlier date as the matter was important in nature and needed to be decided without delay.

Sheikh Zahid Mahmood, a lawyer by profession, had moved the petition saying it was mandatory under Article 91 (4) of the Constitution that every member of the National Assembly must cast his/her vote to person(s) nominated for the election of prime minister.

The petitioner said two main political parties – PPP and Jamat-i-Islami— did not participate in the election of the prime minister as their members remained seated in the assembly but abstained from voting. Therefore, he said, they failed to perform their duty of participating in the establishment of the federal government.

The petitioner asked the court to declare that every member of the National Assembly must exercise his constitutional duty to take part in voting for leader of the house and chief executive of the state. He further requested the court to declare that Imran Khan had been elected as prime minister unconstitutionally due to absence of the votes of the total membership of the assembly.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2018