Lahore : A very interesting situation has arised in the Lahore High Court when the civil society’s lawyer claimed that the land of Hazrat Shah Hussain Bukhari alias Hazrat Mauj Darya cannot be used for Orange Line project as it was permanently allotted to the noble family by Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar back in 967 H.
The counsel produced copy of the historic letter before the bench and loudly read its contents in which the great Akbar had mentioned that “200 thousand bigha land around the shrine of Hazrat Shah Hussain Bukhari would remain in possession of the noble family forever and the income through this land would also be of the family’s possession for being Holy Prophet (PBUH) family.”
The great Akbar also ordered his officials to make announcement of this ‘royal decree’ in all corners of the then Hindustan and gave the family special exemption from payment of ‘taxes and other dues’ to his government, the petitioner’s counsel read the letter.
He said all rules of different ideologies ruled Lahore, made different decisions but they never thought to take over the land of the shrine and noble family. He said now the mosque which is adjacent to the shrine of Hazrat Mauj Darya was being taken for Orange Line project.
He said the government made no proper planning as vibration of the train would badly damage the foundations and walls of five historical buildings falling on its route. He said the court had stayed the project within 200 foot radius of the historical buildings; 200 foot radius was huge area fixed for the buildings’ safety which was never taken into consideration and construction was done hardly 12 to 14 foot away from the historical monuments.
He said this project would destroy the environment of the city and would damage its cultural beauty while its budget was huge which was not affordable for a financially poor country like us. He said all other sectors have been neglected.
The petitioner’s counsel also quoted a civil court’s decision announced in 60s was about the land of Hazrat Mauj Darya Bukhari (a.r) but the government did not care of that court’s order. He concluded his arguments praying that this project should be declared set aside and the budget allocated for this should be spent on education and health sectors.
After hearing his arguments, the division bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh sought arguments from the Punjab government.
On Tuesday, Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali concluded his arguments and termed the project as project of public welfare and said that there was no threat to cultural beauty of the city.
The AGP also assured the court that the monuments would be protected and all possible measures would be taken up to prevent environmental pollution due to this project. The AGP said the project was the biggest project of the country’s history and therefore there were many challenges in its execution.
Civil society and others had filed the petitions against Orange Line project and said that it would destroy cultural landscape of the city. They said it would also cause pollution. They prayed to the court to set aside the whole project.