LAHORE: Justice Abdus Sattar Asghar of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has extended until today a stay against the demolition of the Lady Willingdon Hospital building.
The Punjab government wants to tear down the historic building is to build a flyover on Azadi Chowk.
In response to contempt petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) leader Dr Yasmin Rashid and the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA), an additional advocate general denied that the provincial government had violated the stay order against the demolition. He said that that no portion of the hospital had yet been bulldozed.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Dr Yasmin Rashid and Young Doctors Association had filed the petitions. The PDA’s attorney Azhar Siddique claimed that the government was wasting large amouns of public money to build a flyover to help the Metro Bus project.
He said that the government had planned to demolish a huge portion of the historic hospital building. He said that the 83-year-old hospital was in dire need of maintenance and upgrade, as evidenced by the findings of a team from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), but the Punjab government had shown no concern. The hospital has 300 beds and provides free treatment to around 500 people every day, Mr Siddique said. The hospital also facilitates around 14,000 births every year.
The YDA had communicated it concerns to the government, Mr Siddique said, but it had not taken notice and was bent on demolishing the building, he said, which is in violation of several article of the Constitution. Due to ongoing construction on Azadi Chowk, routes to the hospital are closed, which is inconveniencing patients, the YDA lawyer said. The government had no even obtained a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Environment Department for the construction of the flyover, he said. The planned demolition is also against provisions of the Walled City Act 2012, the Antiqueties Act 1975, and the Punjab Special Premises Preservations 1985, Mr Siddique claimed.
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