Tuesday, January 30, 2018

CJ calls meeting of chief justices of high courts on CPEC


The Newspaper's Staff ReporterJanuary 31, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said on Tuesday he had convened a meeting of the chief justices of the high courts on Saturday in view of disputes cropping up over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“The CPEC is the most important project for Pakistan but disputes (over it) are coming up that is why I have called a meeting of the chief justices on Feb 3,” Chief Justice Nisar said while hearing a suo motu case on the drying out of Katas Raj pond, considered by the followers of Hindu religion a sacred place.

The observation came when senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan, representing the Maple Leaf Cement and the Bestway Cement, told the court that one of the industrial units had given six kanals of land to the government because the CPEC would pass through its doorway.

The chief justice said the court would create a balance because the requirement of cement would be immense in view of CPEC-related projects but “we also have to protect environment and stop unnecessary quarrying of the mountains in the area”.

At the same time, he said, the court would also ensure availability of water for the minority community to perform religious rituals by dipping in Katas Raj pond which they considered a holy place. Besides, potable water should also be available for drinking purpose to the locals.

The court would never interfere in development but a balance had to be struck to protect the flora and fauna of the area as well as our heritage and to end scarcity of water, the court said.

Additional Advocate General Asma Hamid told the court that based on a recent hydrological survey, the Punjab government had issued a notification under which a 979km area in Chakwal had been declared prohibited area where no new cement factory could be set up or the existing facility could be expanded.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2018

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