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SC seeks report on Bhong Interchange

Our Correspondent
Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a progress report from the National Highways Authority (NHA) on the construction of Bhong Interchange.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen heard the petition filed by Raees Munir against the change of location for Bhong Interchange. During the hearing, the additional attorney-general told the court that the Ministry of Planning and Development, in pursuance of the court’s order, had assured the construction of Bhong Interchange, adding that the ministry would implement the court order in letter and spirit.

He informed the court that the ministry had issued directives for the construction of the interchange. Hamid Khan, counsel for the petitioner Raees Munir, informed the court that although the Planning and Development Department had assured the construction of Bhong Interchange, nothing had been started on the site even though the court had given directions in this regard.

He said that the court had issued directions some six months ago, but so far nothing had been done. “Let’s summon the NHA on the assurance given by the planning development,” Justice Ijazul Ahsen remarked, and he sought a progress report from the NHA on the matter on the next date of hearing.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing until January. On the last hearing, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsen Iqbal assured the court that the interchange would be constructed where the court desired. Justice Ijazul Ahsen had said that the court had already given its order, which should be implemented in letter and spirit.

Ahsen Iqbal had submitted before the court that the developmental budget had been decreased from Rs1,000 billion to Rs550 billion, due to which most of the developmental projects had to be discontinued.

The court, however, had said that a review petition was required to be filed when some changes were to be made to the court’s order. Justice Ahsen reminded the planning minister that the court had ordered the construction of Bhong Interchange after the government’s consent.

Ahsen Iqbal had submitted that they would file a review petition and inform the court about their stance. He had submitted that they wanted to submit a report on economic problems being faced by the government due to the flood.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen told the minister that they could submit the report and the court would examine it, but added that if the government wanted to make changes to the project, it should have approached the court earlier.

The judge had observed that the government itself decided to make changes to the project. When the petitioner approached the court for non-implementation of its order, now the government was talking about filing a review petition.