Rawalpindi - The Lahore High Court (LHC), Rawalpindi Bench, has expressed anger over encroachments and blockades in the city and directed district government and other cantonment authorities to remove all the encroachments from road and business centres.

Justice Ibad-ur-Rehman Lodhi asked the city managers to submit their detailed compliance report in this regard before the apex court till December 17.

Justice Lodhi while hearing a public interest petition filed by Advocate Anwaar Dar took serious notice of absence of District Coordinator Officer (DCO) Sajid Zaffar Dall in the court. He observed that the court had asked the DCO to be present in the court.

Arguing before the court, Imran Ali Chaudhry, EDO Municipal Services, said that the DCO had already directed all concerned authorities to carry out their duties and clear all the markets and roads from  encroachments.

On this, Justice Lodhi said that the DCO had been posted in Rawalpindi for the last two years and seemed to have done nothing for removal of encroachments.

The court also directed the DCO, administrators of Rawal and Potohar Towns, and executive officers of Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonments to submit detailed reports on the next date of hearing about their efforts to remove encroachments and clean 105 water channels in the city.

The court also expressed surprise over posting of some specific people on some specific seats for a long time and asked the city mangers to submit details of such postings.

The court also hinted at forming a local commission that would visit different areas of the city and file report about efforts of the district administration to clean the city of encroachments and blockades.

The petitioner, while making heads of district administration and cantonment boards as respondents, has petitioned before the court for removal of encroachments and cleanliness of over 100 nullahs in the district.

Anwaar Dar has argued before that court that the district administration and the cantonment authorities had failed to remove encroachments from major roads of the city causing immense troubles for commuters and pedestrians. “The security agencies had also closed many roads due to security concerns,” he said.

He said that he and other residents of Rawalpindi have to suffer mental and physical disturbance owning to the encroachments and blockades.

He claimed that there was a strong perception that the encroachers had occupied different roads and markets in connivance with the concerned authorities and they are paying bribe to the inspectors.

The petitioner said that encroachments had led to massive traffic jams adding to woes of the commuters. He added that areas like Tench Bhatta, Dehri Hassanabad, in cantonment areas, and Raja Bazaar and Commercial Market in the city were prime examples of widespread encroachments. “The court should direct the authorities concerned to remove the encroachments and make roads free,” the petitioner said.