SC grills officials on changing location of Bhong Interchange

Sohail Khan
Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday observed that government officials are the servants of the state, not any government, and sought within three days a report on the implementation of construction of Bhong Interchange.

A two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, heard the petition filed by Raees Munir against the change of location for the Bhong Interchange.

During the course of hearing, Additional Attorney General Rashdeen Kasuri told the court that the Planning and Development sent the report the other day, stating that the construction of Bhong Interchange cannot be made due to economic condition. At this, the court showed dismay over the report summoned Secretary Planning and Development.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) had approved the project, adding that the minutes of the meeting were also provided with the report.

“Chief Transport and Communication officer should inform on whose instructions, the draft of the report was changed,” Justice Ahsan asked, adding that the court be informed as to whether he himself changed the report or on the direction of the secretary.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan hinted at taking strict action against the persons who had changed the draft of the report. “Don’t be smart before the court and just tell us as to who changed the report and deceived the court,” Justice Ahsan asked the law officer, adding that the consequences for misleading the court will be stern. “Why contempt notice should not be issued for misleading the court,” Justice Ahsan remarked.

Meanwhile, after the interval, Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, appeared before the court along with the secretary and informed the court that the officials were quite scared for the last four years, that’s why he personally appeared before the court.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan, however, observed that the matter relates to implementation of court’s order. Ahsan Iqbal submitted that the development budget has been decreased from Rs1,000 billion to Rs550 billion due to which most of the development projects had to be discontinued.

The court, however, observed that a review petition was required to be filed when some changes were to be made in the court’s order. Justice Ahsan reminded the planning minister that the court gave the order for building the Bhong Interchange after the government had consented to it.

Ahsan Iqbal, however, submitted that they will file a review petition and will inform the court about its stance. He assured the court that the Interchange will be constructed where the court wants.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that the court had already given its order and it should be implemented in letter and spirit. “Ask your official not to tamper with the report sought by the court,” Justice Ahsan told the federal minister.

“Government officials are the servants of state not any government,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked, adding that the court warns the secretary Planning Development over tampering with the report and we expect that the court’s order will be implemented in letter and spirit.

Last month, the court had issued notice to the federal government in a petition against change of location for Bhong Interchange on Lahore-Karachi Motorway. During the course of proceedings, the court had called for a report on the change of interchange.

Advocate Hamid Khan, counsel for Raees Munir, had argued that PC-1 of Bhong Temple Interchange was approved. The court had also ordered that a motorway interchange be built at Bhong but the location for Bhong Interchange had been changed with Jamal Dini after the change of government, he added. Advocate Faisal Chaudhry, counsel for the National Highway Authority (NHA), had told the court that NHA had proposed Interchange at Bhong Temple in PC-1.