'Conditional approval' for Bhara Kahu project irks high court.

ISLAMABAD -- The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday expressed displeasure over the 'conditional approval' granted by the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the Bhara Kahu bypass project.

IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb observed that there was no provision in the environmental laws regarding 'conditional approval' for any project.

During the hearing, the judge asked the Pak-EPA director general to appear before the court to explain his position; however, the written order of the court did not mention the same.

Justice Aurangzeb was hearing the petition filed by five faculty members of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) against the construction of the bypass within the university's premises.

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Additional Attorney General Munawar Iqbal Duggal apprised the bench that a meeting took place between the representatives of the CDA and the varsity administration on Nov 15, 2022.

He added there was another meeting scheduled to take place this week wherein the petitioners would also be invited.

For this purpose, he sought an adjournment till Friday (Nov 25).

Pak-EPA Assistant Director Mohammad Ramzan appeared before the court and also produced a report about the proceeding initiated by Pak-EPA for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the project.

It stated that the 'CDA has submitted the reply on Nov 20, 2022, against comments/reviews submitted by the expert committee and during the public hearing on Nov 18, 2022'.

Mr Ramzan said the response was found acceptable due to the 'firm commitment of CDA to follow the directions and final decisions' for EIA and added that conditional approval will be issued which is conditional to the submission of the administrative penalty already imposed under the Rules 2015.

Justice Aurangzeb observed: 'I have gone through Regulation 13 of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Review of Initial Environmental Examination and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2000 and have...

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