LAHORE: Justice Abdus Sattar Asghar of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday directed the Punjab government to submit the plan regarding the demolition of the Lady Willingdon Hospital and construction of a flyover at Azadi Chowk.
The judge also extended the stay against the demolition and directed the government to submit its plan of the project until February 21.
He issued the directives while hearing two petitions challenging the demolition of the hospital, moved by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Dr Yasmin Rashid and the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA).
Counsel for the YDA Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted that the government was wasting huge money from public exchequer to build a flyover to strengthen the metro bus project. He said that to complete this project, the government had planned to demolish a huge portion of this historical hospital.
He submitted that the hospital was constructed on an area of 120 kanals 83 years back and a USAID team also showed its concern over the facilities there, and recommended upgrading the hospital, but the Punjab government showed no concern in this regard. He said that this hospital had a facility of 300 beds and people get treatment free of cost.
He submitted that at this hospital, 14,000 births take place every year, and about 500 patients get treatment daily. He said that in proportion to the increase in population, health facilities were not increased at the hospital, and the government was curtailing the existing health facilities. Azhar submitted that the petitioner had already given a notice to the authorities concerned, about which they did not bother and were preparing to demolish the building. He said that this step of demolishing the hospital was in violation of articles 14, 10A, 9, 24, 23, 19A, 16, 15 and 25A of the constitution.
He said due to the construction work at Azadi Chowk, ways to the hospital had been closed and the patients had to enter it by walking for several hundred yards.
He said that even for the construction of the flyover, no NOC had been obtained from the Environment Protection Department. He said to demolish the building of the hospital was also against the provision of the Walled City Act 2012, Antiquities Act, 1975, and the Punjab Special Premises Preservations 1985. He requested the court to declare the government decision to demolish the hospital building illegal, and direct it to preserve the facility.
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