LAHORE: Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday expressed concern over the growing environment pollution and observed that the situation needed effective measures to be taken by the authorities.

“Switching over to electric automobiles, solar power systems and modern technology for brick kilns are some of the steps taken by many countries to protect the environment,” observed the judge during hearing of two petitions filed against the failure of the government to control smog.

Advocate General of Punjab Ahmad Jamal Sukhera and petitioners’ counsel Rafay Alam and Azhar Siddique were present in the court.

Justice Sheikh recalled that there was a time when firefly, an insect whose tail produces light during night, was a common sight in the city. However, he lamented that the growing pollution made the fascinating insect a rare species.

Referring to a report, Mr Rafay said emissions of transport and industries were 80pc of the air pollution.

Mr Siddique argued the past governments had committed ‘terrorism’ with trees by felling them ruthlessly in the name of development projects.

AGP Sukhera endorsed observations of the judge saying environment was something which was important to everyone. Though Mr Sukhera was not supposed to represent the federal government, he shared personal knowledge with the court saying there were official deliberations on introduction of electric cars.

He said the incumbent government also had a policy of vertical construction instead of horizontal to save green areas. About shifting brick kilns to modern technology, he said it was a policy and political matter to be decided by the government.

To a query on bilateral talks with India on the issue of smog, Mr Rafay said in past there had been an official correspondence between chief ministers of Pakistan and India’s Punjab regarding crops stubble burning.

The court adjourned hearing till Nov 19 directing the law officer and petitioners’ counsel to sit together and come up with recommendations on the matter.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2019