LAHORE: A Lahore High Court full bench on Tuesday sought findings of the two joint investigation teams (JITs) formed in the Model Town incident and record of cabinet’s approval for formation of these.
As the bench resumed hearing, Additional Advocate General Mushtaq Mohal appeared and sought time to submit the required details. He said the record could not be available due to massive reshuffle in the bureaucracy of Punjab.
The law officer assured the bench that the entire record would be presented on the next hearing.
Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan who headed the bench observed that the chief secretary and other responsible officials would be summoned in case of default. “The judiciary is not weak,” the judge reminded the law officer.
The bench adjourned further hearing till Jan 14.
Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan and Justice Alia Neelum were other members of the bench.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had constituted on Jan 3, 2019 second JIT for a fresh probe into the Model Town carnage. However, the bench on March 22 suspended the notification of the JIT.
Khurram Rafiq and other police officials facing trial in the Model Town case had challenged the legitimacy of the new JIT.
On June 17, 2014, fourteen people were killed and 100 others injured when police opened fire to disperse the protesting activists of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) during an ‘anti-encroachment’ operation outside the residence of its chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri.
The PAT had filed a private complaint before an Anti-Terrorism Court against then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and almost all federal and provincial ministers of the PML-N besides officials of police and district administration accusing them of killing its workers.
Electric vehicle policy: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday sought a report from the federal government on the introduction of electric vehicle policy and conversion of oil refineries to adopt Euro-IV standards.
Hearing multiple petitions against the government’s failure to control smog, Chief Justice-designate Mamoon Rashid Sheikh observed that poor fuel quality was contributing towards air pollution.
A provincial law officer told court that the government was taking drastic measures against environmental pollution and more measures would be announced in the next cabinet meeting on implementation of smog policy and closure of brick kilns industry which failed to convert to zigzag technology.
The law officer further said the Environment Protection Council had been constituted and it would conduct a meeting on Jan 2 to implement the smog policy.
Justice Sheikh expressed satisfaction over the report and observed had the government taken emergency measures in time, Lahore would not have become the most polluted city of the world.
The judge directed the government to take all measures regarding plantation of trees and implement its forest policy. He directed the government to submit reports to adhere to environmental laws and international treaties namely the United Nations Climate Change Convention 1992 and Paris Agreement 2015.
Representing the petitioners, advocates Azhar Siddique and Sheraz Zaka pleaded that the government’s equipment to measure air quality index was not in accordance with the World Health Organization criteria. They said Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad had become one of the most polluted cities and the government was not taking action against the industrial units established in residential areas billowing toxic gaseous emissions.
The counsel contended that the right of life of the citizens with dignity was at stake.
The proceedings were adjourned till Dec 19.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019