KARACHI, Dec 11: The Sindh High Court has directed the Defence Housing Authority to restore two roads to their original position.
While allowing a petition on Dec 6 against conversion of Khayaban-e-Mujahid and Khayaban-e-Shamsheer into a single carriage road, a division bench of the SHC comprising Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui ruled that if the changes in the master plan were required for public interest the same might be done in accordance with the law after following the procedure, taking all authorities concerned on board and giving a public hearing to all likely to be affected by such changes.
The conversion was made in glaring violation of the law while the action of the DHA’s governing body to implement such conversion without the consent of its executive board was an act which was not approved by the court, it added.
Earlier, area residents through Advocate Salman Hamid submitted that the conversion had paved way for heavy public and commercial vehicles to switch over to these roads.
They maintained that the DHA converted the roads without honouring the mandatory requirements of law and in violation of the master plan. This conversion had not only hurt the privacy of the petitioners, but also the mandatory provision of law, they contended.
However, the counsel for the DHA submitted that the conversion was made in pursuant to a report of M/s Nespak to ease traffic jams at and around Khadda Market.
The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed a civil rights campaigner to place on record details of forest land given on lease in violation of rules and regulation.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam also warned Rana Faizul Hassan, the secretary general of the United Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, that his petition might be thrown out in case he failed to submit the particulars of the forest land, which, according to him, was leased out illegally.
The bench observed in its order: “No location of the forest has been identified which has been leased in violation of any laws, rules and regulations. In case no particulars are provided before the next date, the petition may be dismissed”.
The petitioner impleaded the provincial secretary of the forest department, chief conservator and conservators of different forests in Sukkur, Larkana, Thatta and Hyderabad as respondents.
He stated that the forests extending from Kashmore to Karachi, including forests of Thatta, Matiari, Kashmore, Nawabshah, Sukkur and Ghotki, were depleted and forest land was leased out to favourites in violation of rules.
The petitioner stated that the forest department failed to protect and preserve forest land and apparently collaborated with the land grabbing mafia.
He submitted in the petition that he had written several letters to the Sindh chief minister and other public functionaries inviting their attention to forest depleting in the province due to negligence on the part of the forest department.
He stated that the land mafia in connivance with forest department officials chopped down trees in various areas and the wood worth millions of rupees was being sold in the market.
He said that chopping of trees not only caused environmental hazards, but also caused huge financial losses to the exchequer.
The petitioner pointed out that the forest department was assigned to grow trees on up to 30 per cent land but it had failed to do the job.
He said one third of the forests of the country were depleted in just two decades.
The petitioner stated that the deforestation posed a serious threat to the climate of the country and intensified pollution.
He prayed to the court to direct the respondents to fulfil their responsibilities and take concrete measures to preserve the forests in the province.