SC to focus on health, education in 2018, says CJP


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday said that the apex court will keep itself focused on health and education throughout 2018.

The CJP said this while hearing a suo moto case regarding felling of trees, during which it was noted that there are multiple complaints of forest department’s land being illegally leased out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Recently, an illegal lease of 275 acres of the forest department land in Malam Jabba, near Saidu Sharif in Swat, has emerged. According to official record and sources, politicians and the bureaucracy connived to lease out forests department’s protected land to a private company called Samson for 33 years, without caring for rules and regulations, for construction of chairlift and skiing resort.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Justice Saqib Nisar also said that the natural beauty of the Katas Raj Temple in Chakwal had also been ruined due to the negligence of the department concerned. He added that the burden of such irregularities will fall on secretaries of the respective departments.

According to the chief justice, the mismanagement in forest and environment departments was a result of conspiracies and non-implementation of court orders. But now, he added, everyone will have to implement directives sent out by the apex court.

During the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that the forests will be properly monitored now.

The court summoned the KP chief secretary and secretaries of the forest and mining department. A 15-day performance report was also sought within an hour from the Punjab mining department’s chief inspector.