PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has sought comments from the provincial finance secretary and two other relevant officers on a petition challenging a long delay in the completion of work on the public sector Timergara Medical College in Lower Dir district.

A bench consisting of Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar and Justice Mohammad Ijaz Khan directed the finance secretary, executive engineer of communication and works department Lower Dir and project director of the medical college to file response to the petition before the next hearing.

In the joint petition, Lower Dir residents Rahim Shah Akunkhel and Prof Wali Rehman sought the court’s orders for the government to complete the college project at the earliest for the start of classes.

They also called for the production of a detailed report by the respondents, including the provincial chief and health secretaries, on the funds approved and utilised for the college.

Two residents move court for orders to complete work without delay

The respondents in the petition included the chief secretary, secretaries of the communication and works, finance and health departments, Khyber Medical University through its vice-chancellor, TMC project director Dr Shaukat Ali, Lower Dir C&W executive engineer Riaz Wali, the Pakistan Medical Commission through its president, and project contractor Haji Mohammad Ayub.

The petitioners’ lawyer, Malik Mohammad Ajmal, said the medical college project was inaugurated by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan on July 4, 2015, during his party’s previous government in the province, while work on it formally began in 2016 but had yet to be completed.

He said the government had duly approved the project and work on it had begun in 2016 but despite the passage of over six years, it was incomplete.

The counsel said the relevant executive engineer of C&W department had declared in June last year that the college’s construction work was in final stages and would be complete d in two months and that the building would be handed over to the government shortly thereafter.

He contended that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had also announced that the college would begin classes on Jan 1, 2022, and that a total of 436 posts had already been approved for the college.

The lawyer argued that the respondents had individually and collectively debarred students from getting admission to the college without any plausible reason in clear violation of different constitutional provisions.

CONVICTION SET ASIDE: Another high court bench set aside the conviction and award of life sentence by a trial court in a narcotics smuggling case.

Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Abdul Shakoor ruled that the evidence on record did not connect the appellant, Shafiq Afridi, with the commission of the offence.

The appellant was arrested by officials of the Peshawar University Town police station claiming the recovery of 14kg charas from the fuel tank of a vehicle he was travelling in.

He was convicted by the trial court and was awarded life sentence and Rs500,000 fine.

His counsel, Asfandyar Khan, argued that his client was falsely implicated in the case and the local police had investigated the matter very poorly.

He argued that samples of the recovered contraband were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for chemical examination after a delay of many days.

The lawyer added that the testimony of different prosecution witnesses were in conflict with each other which made the prosecution case doubtful.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022

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