ATC extends judicial remand of 7 lawyers

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Friday, April 2, extended the judicial remand of seven lawyers who are accused of storming the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on February 8.  Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan, on hearing the pre-arrest bail petition of advocates Salahuddin, Younis Kiyani, Akhter Hussain, Ayub Arbab, Hammad Saeed Dar, Muddasar Rizwan and Khalid Mehmood, postponed the hearing till April 5.

Shia missing persons camp ongoing

Families of Shia victims of enforced disappearances on Friday staged a sit-in near the Mazaar-e-Quaid in Karachi, demanding the immediate recovery of their loved ones. The camp, organized by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Shia Missing Persons, has stated that it will continue until their missing fathers, sons, brothers and husbands are returned to their families.

Despite assurances from the authorities, and the Prime Minister’s recent directives to activate a bill on missing persons, no real action in the location, trial and/or recovery of victims of enforced disappearances has been taken.

Protesters implore the government to produce missing persons in court if they stand accused of crime, rather than snatching them from their families without any word on whether they are alive or dead.

Lahore High Court bans tree felling

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday imposed a ban on tree-felling in Punjab, citing concern over rampant environmental degradation by unchecked construction activities.  The order was issued during a hearing on the clearing of mango orchards by the Defence Housing Authority in Multan some weeks ago.

Justice Shahid Karim voiced his disapproval with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over issuing No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to private land developers who cut down trees for industrial purposes, and further directed the EPA to submit a report regarding the razing of the mango orchard.

Advocate Syed Kamal Haider informed the bench that some 6,000 acres of mango orchards have been cut down by housing authorities without any environmental approval. He went on to condemn the EPA’s silence, stating that all fertile and agricultural land could be taken over by housing authorities if no action was taken.

The judge adjourned the hearing till April 9 and ordered EPA to ensure that no more trees are cut down for commercial provinces in the province.