Court bars Punjab govt from razing any part of Lady Willingdon Hospital

Court bars Punjab govt from razing any part of Lady Willingdon Hospital

LAHORE: Justice Ijaz Ahmad of the Lahore High Court on Thursday restrained the Punjab government from demolishing any portion of the historical building of Lady Willingdon Hospital, Lahore, to construct a flyover at Azadi Chowk.
The judge also issued notices to the respondents: Punjab government, special adviser to chief minister on health, health secretary, Walled City of Lahore Authority, Lahore Development Authority (LDA), archaeology director, city traffic police officer, medical superintendent of Lady Willingdon Hospital, City District Government Lahore and Environmental Protection Agency director general, and sought their replies by February 5. 
The court also issued a notice to the authorities concerned for February 6 and stated that no demolition would take place until then.
The judge directed the advocate general of Punjab to ensure submission of the replies until the next date of hearing.
The judge issued the directives on a petition moved on behalf of the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA). Counsel for the petitioner Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted that the government was wasting huge money from 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 back, and a USAID team also showed its concern over the lack of facilities there and recommended to upgrade 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 around 14,000 births take place at the hospital every year, while about 500 patients get treatment every day. He said that in proportion to the increase in population, health facilities were not increased at the hospital, and that the government was curtailing the existing health facilities. 
Azhar submitted that the petitioner had already had given a notice to the authorities concerned, about which they did not bother and were preparing to demolish the facility. 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 that due to the construction work at Azadi Chowk, ways to the hospital had been closed and patients had to enter it by walking several hundred yards.
He said that even for the construction of the flyover, no NOC had been taken from the environment department. He said that to demolish the building of the hospital was also against 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’s decision to demolish the hospital building illegal, and direct to preserve it.

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