LAHORE – Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday sought lawyers’ assistance in determining whether the court was mandated to direct the federal government and the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to construct the Kalabagh Dam (KBD).

The court questioned the lawyers if it was mandated under the Constitution to issue directives for starting work on any development project. During Tuesday’s hearing, counsels for the petitioners argued that the court could issue directives for starting work on the project under Article 4 and 5 of the Constitution, since the articles and the project related to fundamental right of the citizens.

The LHC is hearing many petitions seeking directives to the federal and Punjab governments to take up the issue of Kalabagh Dam’s construction with the CCI and evolve consensus among the provinces by addressing their objections. Previously, the CCI and Wapda had submitted their replies before the high court.

The CCI in its reply requested the court to issue directives to the Ministry of Water and Power or any of the provincial governments to take up the matter with the council.

In its reply, Wapda said that the objections raised by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh had been critically examined with the help of proper technical studies.

“The objections and apprehensions of the provinces against the Kalabagh Dam are baseless, and based on lack of information and hearsay knowledge,” stated the reply, adding that the dam project is ready for implementation since June 1988. “If the CCI approved the project, it could be built in six years.”

Also, the LHC on Tuesday restrained Punjab University Physics Department Head Dr Shaukat Ali from performing his official duties over the allegations of fake certificate.

A two-member bench comprising Justices Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan and Ibad-ur-Rehman Lodhi issued the order on an inter court appeal filed by Muneer Ahmad against dismissal of a writ petition for removal of Dr Shaukat Ali by a LHC single bench. The bench also sought report from the Punjab University vice chancellor by November 11 besides issuing a notice to Dr Shaukat Ali.

The petitioner’s counsel told the bench that Dr Shaukat Ali committed fraud with the Punjab University by submitting a fake Matriculation certificate. “Dr Shaukat’s date of birth was 1954, while he submitted a Matriculation certificate showing his date of birth as 1959. Two inquiries were initiated against the fraud by the university but they did not reach any conclusion. However, a university committee acknowledged that the respondent had committed fraud.”