High court suspends operation of Lahore Master Plan 2050.

LAHORE -- The Lahore High Court on Tuesday suspended the operation of Lahore's Master Plan 2050.

Hearing a petition against the plan, Justice Shahid Karim observed that the random and aimless development projects of the government had made breathing difficult for citizens. 'These projects pose a threat to the economy of the country,' the judge observed.

Advocate Shahzad Shaukat, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted before the court that the approval of the Master Plan 2050 by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) was clearly a managed affair and designed to extend undue benefits to the land mafia and property developers. The LDA failed to consider the devastating impact it was likely to have on the already deteriorated environment of Lahore, he contended.

He further stated that the Master Plan, which was to define how Lahore division would look like in the coming years, had actually left the people of the city at the whims of land developers. He pointed out that the plan envisaged reduction in the green area despite Lahore's depleting air quality index (AQI). He said the AQI of Lahore deteriorated to an average of 10.7 per cent each year, causing all kinds of pulmonary diseases among its population and burdening the health facilities.

Advocate Shaukat argued that the impugned plan was a classic example of urbanization, which would block any effective response to calamities, especially floods, and human life would be at risk. He said the provincial government attempted to validate the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda) illegally and gave it a legal status despite a 2021 judgement of the LHC against the authority.

He further asked the court to set aside the Master Plan and restrain the respondents, including Ruda, from dispossessing the petitioners from the land in question.

Justice Karim suspended the implementation of the Master Plan 2050 and sought replies...

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