The Lahore High Court has declared Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s River Ravi Urban Development Project illegal and passed an order to immediately halt its construction, Samaa TV reported.
At a hearing on Tuesday, Justice Shahid Karim announced the verdict, which was earlier reserved in an open court.
He said that the requirements of the project prior to its construction were not fulfilled. “The Section 4 of the Ravi Urban Development Authority Act, 2020, is against the constitution.”
The section states: “The government shall, by notification in the official Gazette, establish an Authority to be known as the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) for carrying out the purposes of this Act.”
“The authority shall be a body corporate, with perpetual succession and a common seal, with powers, subject to the provisions of this Act, to acquire and hold property, both movable and immovable, and may by the said name, sue and be sued. The Government shall review the performance of the Authority and may, from time to time, give general policy directions to implement such directions,” it added.
But under the 1984 law, agriculture land can only be acquired legally, which was not done in the case of the project. Thus, it is illegal, the court asserted and declared the RUDA notification (of transferring 7,000-acre land to the government) null and void, the report said.
The RUDA was inaugurated by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in August 2020. Imran Khan had claimed that the project will save Lahore.
“If we want to save Lahore, this project needs to be made,” he had said, adding that without it, Lahore would have to face water problems that Karachi is facing today.
“The pollution level in Lahore has surpassed the danger level which can impact the health of people,” he had asserted.