Civil society calls for suo motu on metro bus project

ISLAMABAD: The civil society organisations have appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take suo motu on the ongoing metro bus project for being executed without taking into consideration the environmental impacts of the projects.A meeting organised by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) Friday showed concern over indiscriminate demolition of green belts, whereas some more environment-friendly options were available. Speaking on the issue, environmentalist and director of the Devcom-Pakistan, Munir Ahmed, said over a dozen concerns on the project have yet to be addressed by the government. He said they were not against the rapid mass transit system because it was the need of the hour. “Our concern is that such projects should be environment-friendly. All the mega projects should start only after the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and the environmental impact assessment (EIA),” he said. The chief justice of Pakistan should immediately take suo motu and stop the development work until an impartial EIA is done and the cost of the project is rationalised, he added, and warned that the citizens will take to streets if government does not behave sensibly or the Supreme Court delays the justice.Munir said a petition has already been submitted with the Supreme Court and they are waiting for the hearing date. Azhar Malik said, “It is unbelievable that a petition is with the Supreme Court on this grave issue and it is waiting to be fixed for hearing. The Supreme Court shall not delay the justice because the matter concerns not only us but our future generations too.”Ali Ahmed Jan said the Supreme Court shall also take notice that the present government in general was not conducting EIAs. “This is ruthless attitude of the government, and the case of metro bus is one of them. Only the superior courts can stop this merciless course of unwise action.”Riffat Baig said this is very unfortunate that Islamabad’s green cover is being destroyed. This delay would cause havoc to the environment and the national exchequer.Alia Naaz said the Islamabad Green Movement is already gearing towards public rallies and public meetings to protest against the project if the citizens’ concerns are not addressed. “The citizens of Islamabad have a history of protecting the natural environment against the irrational and unwise development projects.”

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