LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Tuesday questioned the Punjab government’s policy of launching almost all of the projects in suburbs of the provincial capital, and directed it to submit report about the query.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan is hearing a provincial government application against a stay order earlier issued by this court against acquisition of land by Punjab government to establish Garment City in Sheikhupura.

Earlier, Justice Aysha A Malik of LHC had dismissed a set of petitions against acquisition of land by Punjab government to establish Garment City in Sheikhupura.

As hearing started on Tuesday, the counsels of residents of Garments City Sheikhupura and others told the court that the government was planning to build a garment city on the agricultural land instead of promoting the agriculture. They pointed out that the vegetables and fruits had already been out of access by poor citizens as the government had badly ignored the agriculture sector in the country especially in Punjab. The lawyers further pointed out that the citizens were being forced to purchase the fruits and vegetables at higher cost. They maintained that there would be number of employment opportunities if the government starts such projects in backward areas of the province, while the agricultural lands would also be saved.

They requested the court not to vacate stay order granted against acquisition of the land for the said project by the Punjab government.

Representing the Punjab government, acting advocate general Mustafa Ramday submitted that the government was acquiring the land as per rules and regulations. He argued that by this project, Garment City, not only the common would get benefit, but the country’s economy would also benefit. He requested the court to vacate the stay order.

The court recorded the arguments of both sides, and remarked that why the government didn’t launch such projects in the backward areas if it was interested in developing them. Why every second project was launched in Lahore only, the court questioned, and directed Punjab’s law officers to apprise the court on it. The court will take up the matter on January 31.