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National

December 8, 2017

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PHC disposes of petitions, declares BRT lawful

PESHAWAR: Disposing of the writ petitions challenging the legality of the Bus Rapid Transit Project, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) declared on Thursday that it was in accordance with the Constitution and law.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Syed Afsar Shah said the project under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Urban Mass Transit Act 2016 is lawful. The decision had been reserved a few days ago.
The bench stated that the provision of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Urban Mass Transit Act 2016 is neither in violation of Article 140-A of the Constitution nor irreconcilably contradicted the provision of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, 2013.
However, the court verdict stated that the objections raised over technical, financial, supervisory and executing capacity of the provincial government to undertake the project being highly technical and specialised and also disputed by the respondent government ought not be commented upon by this constitutional court.
In the detailed 35-page judgment, the high court stated that the alternative traffic plan presented by SP (Traffic) Riaz Ahmad was not on a par with what was warranted in view of the magnitude and scope of works under the project. "The worthy deputy inspector general (traffic) is stated to be on a course and has not relinquished his charge, the worthy inspector general of police (IGP) is to ensure that the charge of the DIG (Traffic) is immediately assigned to a responsible officer who may personally supervise the alternative traffic plan," the bench said.
The bench declared that the petitioners, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl leader Maulana Amanullah Haqqani and Shahid Nadeem Khan in both the petitions were aggrieved persons within the contemplation of Article 199 of the Constitution as the issue raised relates to their fundamental right to life enshrined under Article 9 of the Constitution.
The judgment also mentioned that the DIG (Traffic) and commanding

officer of the Military Police of Peshawar Cantonment are to streamline alternative traffic plan and ensure that senior officers personally supervise all the critical checkpoints during the rush hours for smooth flow of traffic and convenience of the public in the city. The court directed that fortnightly joint reports of the DIG (Traffic) and commanding officer of the Military Police in Peshawar be submitted to the Human Rights Cell of the Peshawar High Court to confirm the steps taken and their satisfaction regarding the efforts made for the alternative traffic plan.
The court stated that any request in writing to any person or authority made by the DIG (Traffic) in the city in furtherance of the alternative traffic plan ought to be complied with forthwith.
The court said that Aminuddin Ahmad, senior director, PIU of Peshawar Development Authority and in-charge BRT Project, shall not be involved in any manner whatsoever regarding the affairs of the project as a reference is pending against him in the Accountability Court at Peshawar.
The bench stated that during the interim period the director general of the PDA is to personally perform the functions of the project director of the BRT. "The conditional Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval granted by the director general EPA purportedly under Section 13 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Act 2014 needs to be finalised. The director general EPA shall fortnightly consider the conditions highlighted in the EIA report, and if found in order, to extend the same till its final approval," the court ordered.
The court stated that the suggestions highlighted by senior lawyer Muhammad Khurshid Khan about solution to the traffic problem be placed for appropriate directions before the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Urban Mobility Authority in its next meeting.
The judgment said that the progress reports submitted to the PHC's Human Rights Cell shall be placed before the chief justice in his chamber. Muhammad Isa Khan represented the petitioners in the case. Advocate General Abdul Latif Yousafzai and Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmad Khan represented the provincial government.

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