ISLAMABAD – A five-member bench of the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a decision announced by the Lahore High Court regarding Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project.
The bench, headed by Justices Ejaz Afzal Khan, comprising Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Maqbool Baqar, Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, had reserved the verdict after it closing the hearing on multi-billion dollars project in April.
Accepting the pleas of Punjab government and others, the apex court ordered the Punjab government to complete the project. The court has directed the government to ensure the safety of the heritage buildings.
It is to mention here that about 78 percent work on the project has been completed.
Petitions against Verdict
The Punjab government, National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak), Punjab Mass Transit Authority, Lahore Development Authority and Civil Society Network had challenged the judgment of the Lahore High Court in which the high court ordered to stop construction work near 11 heritage sites.
On August 19, the LHC had barred the provincial authorities from carrying out construction work within a distance of 200 feet around 11 heritage sites including Shalamar Gardens, Gulabi Bagh Gateway, Chauburji, Buddhu ka Awa, Zebunnisa’s Tomb, Lakshmi Building, General Post Office, Aiwan-e-Auqaf, SC Lahore registry building, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at Nabha Road and Baba Mauj Darya Bukhari’s Shrine.
The heritage sites are protected under the Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, 1985 and Antiquity Act, 1975.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif launched the project in collaboration with a Chinese company in May 2014.
The Orange Line is the first of the three proposed rail lines of the proposed Lahore Metro. The line spans 27.1 km (16.8 mi). 25.4 km (15.8 mi) of the line is to be elevated, while 1.72 km (1.1 mi) km will be underground, and 0.7 km (0.4 mi) of a track will be laid in the transition zone between elevated and underground sections.