LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to amend its rules for stricter punishments on smoke-emitting brick kilns.

Hearing multiple petitions on different environmental issues, Justice Shahid Karim also hinted at increasing the amount of traffic violation tickets up to Rs5,000 on parking violations on the main arteries of the city, including the Mall Road, Jail Road and Ferozepur Road. The judge instructed the traffic police to consider clamping wheels for illegal parking.

The judge observed that the messy traffic situation in the city was one of the main reasons behind the growing air pollution. He directed the EPA to take action against the buses of educational institutions and government departments for smoke emission.

Earlier, a court-formed commission presented its report showing implementation of the previous directions issued by the court. The report said the Punjab Ministry for Agriculture had been told about the concerns of the court on stubble burning.

Asks traffic police to consider wheel clamping

The judge directed the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) to grow more urban forests in Lahore. He said the PHA could seek a formal permission from the court if it had any fear of scrutiny by the Anti-Corruption Establishment.

The judge will resume further hearing next week.

warrants withdrawn: A judicial magistrate on Friday withdrew warrants for the arrest of Muhammad Safdar, son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, after the latter appeared in a case of hate speech.

Magistrate Bilal Warraich had issued the bailable warrants after Safdar failed to attend the proceedings in the case.

Safdar appeared before the court along with his legal team and the magistrate withdrew the warrants for his arrest. The magistrate reminded Safdar that his absence on multiple hearings caused a delay in recording of the prosecution evidence.

Safdar said at least 28 cases had been registered against him and he was required to attend the hearings in different cities. However, he assured the magistrate to not skip future hearings of the case.

The magistrate adjourned the hearing till Jan 17 and directed the prosecution to produce its witnesses for the statements. Safdar has already been indicted in the case.

The Islampura police had registered the case and arrested Safdar the night Sharif was admitted to Services Hospital from the NAB’s custody in 2019. Police alleged that Safdar incited people against the government and state institutions. Later, he was released on bail.

Safdar through his counsel contended that police acted with mala fide intention as it initially lodged the FIR under section 16 Maintenance of Public Order and later inserted sections 124 & 506 of Pakistan Penal Code as well. He said the case against him was nothing but a result of political victimisation. He asked the court to quash the case and acquit him.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

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