TMO summoned for planning food street on Shadbagh green belt

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Justice Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court on Friday summoned Shalamar Town municipal officer (TMO) on a petition challenging a project for establishing a food street by removing a greenbelt in Shadbagh Scheme-II. The judge was annoyed over the non-cooperation of government departments. Since no department including the Punjab Housing Authority (PHA) has cooperated with the court to bring required facts on record, the court is unclear about many aspects of the case, he said.
The city district government also did not file a reply despite court orders on the last hearing, the judge added.
The petition was filed by Hafiz Moeen Ahmad through Counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique challenging food street build on a greenbelt. On the recent hearing, the lawyer appeared before the court with power of attorney on behalf of the Shalamar TMO but the judge said the TMO should personally appear before the court next week as court shall not tolerate further delay regarding the matter.
The judge said the non-serious attitude of authorities concerned was mocking justice and if it continued, the court shall summon the Punjab chief secretary and Punjab Police inspector general for interrogation. In the orders dictated by the court, the judge summoned only the TMO with a warning to bring him the complete project report. He said the action was a violation of the fundamental rights of citizens and was against the Local Government Ordinance 2001.
The petitioner pleaded to cancel the order of setting up a food street in the area and restore the greenbelt. On the last hearing, the PHA told the court that it had no plans to set up a food street after removing the greenbelt in Shadbagh Scheme-II and said it had no idea which department proposed the project. The petitioner alleged that the PHA had decided to convert the greenbelt into a food street in violation of superior court orders and contended that the PHA had no authority to convert parks and green belts into buildings.
As a response, the court had barred the Punjab government from cutting trees in the greenbelt. The city government counsel had sought time to file a reply after seeking instructions from authorities concerned on whether there was a plan to setup a food street in the area.