LAHORE: The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar reprimanded the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Director General Zahid Akhtar Zaman for allowing a portion of a park to be uprooted for construction of a road leading to former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s residence.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Nisar, had summoned the LDA chief at the Lahore Registry after taking suo motu notice of the case a day before.
The court ordered the DG LDA to restore the park within 10 days. “The cost of rebuilding the park should be taken from Ishaq Dar,” remarked the CJP.
A portion of the park near Dar’s residence had been uprooted to build a road which leads directly to his house. However, the road is said to be prohibited for public use.
While referring to Zaman, the chief justice had questioned with whose authority the LDA allowed the road to be built over the park.
“Ishaq Dar had requested to make the road outside his house wider for parking,” replied Zaman. The chief justice then asked if the former finance minister had sent an official written request to the authority, to which the DG replied: “Dar had directed me to make the road over the phone.”
The response irked Chief Justice Nisar, who remarked that the official should also be investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
“What kind of officer are you? On just one phone call by a minister, you uprooted a park? You will have to pay the price. I won’t let favouritism work here. You should be investigated as per NAB law.”
The DG then apologised unconditionally before the court, but the chief justice remarked: “The time for apologies has passed.”
Chief Justice Nisar then ordered Zaman to explain how the park was built in a written statement and submit it to court. “Bring all the records as well as your oath.”
The SC bench also observed that the conduct of the official should be investigated under Section 9 of NAB law. On this, the official asked for forgiveness, accepting that he made a mistake.
Justice Atta Bandial remarked that further probe will occur later and that restoration of the park should be the only focus for now.
On Wednesday, Chief Justice Nisar had taken the suo motu notice of a portion of a park being uprooted to build a road leading to Ishaq Dar’s residence.
Notices were issued to DG LDA, deputy commissioner Lahore and the Punjab government. The chief justice had asked the authorities as per what law the park had been uprooted to build the road.