LAHORE: Justice Abdus Sattar Asghar of the Lahore High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Punjab government on a contempt of court petition for allegedly making construction on the demolished portion of Lady Willingdon Hospital with an aim to construct a flyover at Azadi Chowk.
The judge sought a reply until today (Tuesday) in the contempt of court petition and also fixed the main case.
He also directed the counsels for both the parties to file their replies on each other’s contentions.
The government submitted a reply, giving plan for the demolition of the portion of the hospital. It stated that 14 different areas of the hospital would be demolished to complete the flyover.
The areas included portions of the maternity ward A and B, a kitchen, a portion of the doctors’ hostel, a general store and a chemical store. A law officer of the provincial government informed the court that there was a plan to construct these portions at some alternative places in the hospital, and in this regard, the medical superintendent of the hospital had also given the consent.
He said an amount of Rs 8.8 million would be spent on this project.
Counsel for the Young Doctors Association (petitioner) Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted that the government was constructing alternative walls on the premises of the hospital to demark the place for demolition of its portion. He said it was a contempt of court, as they were doing it despite the stay order issued by the court against any such step.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Dr Yasmin Rashid and the Young Doctors Association had filed the petitions.
Azhar submitted that the government was wasting a huge amount of money from the public exchequer to build a flyover to strengthen the Metro Bus Service 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 ago, 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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