In May 2011, the provincial government without taking the community in confidence or conducting any EIA as required by law, chopped off over 300 trees of 50- 70 yrs age on both sides of GT Road opposite Nishtarabad in order to make way for a flyover which eventually will not solve any traffic problem. The cost of this will be 750 million Pak rupees. ZKF along with some other local NGOs has taken the Govt to the High Court in a Writ Petition where the ZKF has submitted a rejoinder to the unreasonable replies of the Peshawar Development Authority, the Environment Protection Agency and the Provincial Secretary of Environment. The next date of hearing is in December 2012.
REJOINDER FROM ZKF, SUBMITTED IN PESHAWAR HIGH COURT IN JUNE, 2012
BEFORE THE PESHAWAR HIGH COURT PESHAWAR
In Re: W.P. No 2101/2012
Kalash Environmental Protection Society and others…………………………..Petitioners
Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and others………………………………Respondents
Rejoinder on behalf of Abid Zareef Khan, President Zareef Khan Foundation, r/o 1-Nishtarabad, Peshawar to the comments of Respondent No: 2, 3 & 4
Rejoinder on behalf of Abid Zareef Khan, President Zareef Khan Foundation, r/o 1-Nishtarabad, Peshawar, to the comments of respondent number 2, 3 & 4 are submitted here under;
ON PRELIMINARY OBJECTIONS:
- All the preliminary objections raised by the respondents are not admitted correct as the petitioners are aggrieved persons to the extent that they are concerned about the health and the welfare of the citizens of Peshawar of which they themselves are also residents, hence they have the locus standi the petition is maintainable raising therein pure question of law relating to the interest of the general public.
Para – 1:
Comments furnished by the Respondents to Para No. 1 are incorrect because the petitioners are representatives of the civil society organizations concerned with the health, welfare of the citizens of Peshawar in particular as well as its heritage, flora and fauna which may be endangered in any form whatsoever. It is irrelevant to question the legality of existence of these organisation in this case because as this Honorable Court has pointed out in the past also that any citizen has the right to question the legality of any development work and especially if it has the potential to be environmentally hazardous to the health and life of the citizens. It may be added that as far as the issue of environment is concerned, it is considered a global issue and let it be very clear that it is the right of any citizen of the world to be concerned or protest about any impending environmental disaster in any part of the world, e.g: USA is known to be responsible for 25% of global pollution causing global warming due to its giant industries. It is for this reason that the rest of the world is trying its best to pressurize USA to sign the Kyoto Treaty which regulates and controls pollution worldwide. In this respect, the newly joined Petitioner Mr. Abid Zareef Khan, the President of Zareef Khan Foundation is a directly aggrieved person because he is residing at 1-Nishtarabad Peshawar adjacent to the G.T. Road, which is directly affected by construction of the Arbab Khalil flyover in all respect. The proof of residence of Mr. Abid Zareef Khan is attached in the form of copy of his CNIC and his achievements in the field of environmental / heritage conservation is known worldwide and very specially in KPK. e.g: (a) acted as a catalyst to mobilize the resistance movement against the New Murree project of the previous Punjab government in 2006 – 07 in which 4111 acres of pristine reserve forest of over 200 years age was to be destroyed / affected. This culminated in the Suo Moto action by the Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan by stopping the work and the same project was later scrapped by the present ruling Punjab government.
(b) The Zareef Khan Foundation, “ZKF” (an Islamabad registered non-profit NGO to work in all Pakistan) also spear headed the movement to save the world’s largest pheasantry in Dhodhial established by the KPK Wildlife Department in 1984 where 32 out of 52 species of the world are being bred. Its survival was endangered by the arbitrary orders of the military hard headed former dictator governor Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah in order to integrate the 24 acres land of the pheasantry in the newly founded Hazara University for which over 200 acres land was already allocated by arbitrary removal of the Mental Hospital as well as Agricultural and Veterinary Research Centers. Subsequently, four other Governors tried their best to pressurize the Wildlife Department to remove the Pheasantry but eventually the Fresh Petitioner Abid Zareef Khan’s efforts succeeded by defeating the illegal and insensible wishes of those in the helm of affairs. For this, ZKF published series of articles to a Karachi based newspaper owned by the DAWN Group and they also produced a 50 minutes documentary which was aired on the Dawn News TV channel in prime time for a few days. Attention of the World’s Pheasant Association, UK was also drawn to this issue whereby the President of the WPA, UK also wrote a strong letter of appeal to Mr. Owais Ghani, the former Governor of KPK. It may be known that members of WPA are mostly the British aristocracy which includes many Dukes and Earls. Whenever the Honorable Court desires a DVD of the documentary can be presented for display.
(c) ZKF was again the only NGO of Pakistan which resisted the arbitrary and illegal destruction of balconies and facades of the buildings on both sides of the G.T. Road between Ring Road and Firdos Cinema in July 2002 on the orders of the same hard headed dictator governor Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah using the PDA as his destruction tool. All this was also done in the name of improving the traffic problems. Again, ZKF published series of articles in the Karachi Newspaper because the local newspapers did not dare to annoy the dictators. One important heritage buildings saved was the Government Boys High School No. 2 Peshawar City which was built in 1895 and where Allama Mashriqi has also remained a principal. Also the country Director of UNESCO Ms. Ingeborg Brieness was invited by ZKF to witness the impending danger and disaster to heritage of Peshawar City which is the oldest living of South Asia being about 2300 years old. With great difficulty, she prevailed upon the Governor and thus the interior of the city was spared with the same fate as befell on the G.T. Road buildings.
(d) The Petitioner Abid Zareef Khan is an ex-International Civil Servant who has widely travelled in five continents of the world for work in the UN as well as for tourism, therefore, his observations and contacts are also global especially in the field of environment. Many international dignitaries have visited the ZKF projects where several foreign professional staff members have worked since 1991 mainly from UK and Australia.
The evidence to support the above sets of facts is enclosed as Anxs. A1 to A6
Para - 2:
Comments furnished by the Respondents not admitted correct being irrelevant and unsubstantiated by any cogent rules of city development recognized and applicable in the developed countries of the world. The respondents cannot produce any guarantee to the citizens, effectees and the government that by their negligent act of eliminating the green belts (which they call open spaces) the problem of the traffic will be resolved forever. In developed countries of the world, city planning is not done for 10 or 20 years but for hundreds of years in advance, provided the city planners have any wisdom and good will, welfare as well as good faith for the public at heart. Hundreds of examples of old cities of the developed world are available namely London, Rome, Sydney, Athens etc. where the same roads, streets, buildings and green belts / parks are existing from hundreds of years. It is surprising to note that the traffic load in those cities is also increasing manifold but they do not eliminate green belts or demolish buildings but rather do better traffic engineering and city planning. However, in this case green belt is removed by the Respondent in a very hasty manner as alleged by Petitioners proof of cutting and removing green belt in the form of Photographs as Anx. B1 to B10 Paras - 3,4,5,6 & 7: Comments furnished by Respondent No. 3 to Para Nos: 3,4,5,6 & 7 are incorrect. As far as the Suo Moto action taken by the then Honorable Chief Justice Peshawar High Court vide WP No. 1738/2009 is concerned it is highly appreciated by one and all in the society as well as by the Civil Societies. However, had the representatives of the Civil Society and the Environment Protection Agency of KPK been included in the Committee constituted by the Honorable Court, may be the recommendations of the said Committee would have been different because they would have given first priority to the environmental impact on the communities where the so called developmental activities in the form of flyovers have been undertaken.
Referring to 16 recommendations of the above mentioned Committee, it will be appreciated if the Respondent can also list and explain which Underpasses, Mass Transit System, construction of Parking Plazas have been built so far and in addition, which service roads have they repaired and what is the condition of the southern side service road along G.T. Road between Azeem Cold Storrage and the PESCO Grid Station opposite the Aga Khan Family Clinic. Photos enclosed as Anx- G1 – G3 speak volumes themselves.
Also details are desired to be submitted about how many older model public transport vehicles have been terminated , how many still ply on roads and what measures have been taken in streamlining the Fitness Certificates of Public Transport Vehicles.
Also, what is the state of the link roads between various parts of the city and the Ring Road to facilitate the smooth in / out flow of traffic so that the same traffic is not compelled to use the G.T. Road for reaching different ends of the city which is actually and resultantly adding to the congestion on the G.T. Road. An old idiom used in Health Sector will also fit well here which says that, “prevention is better and cheaper than cure”.
It is surprising that an exact figure of 99 trees chopped have been given between Amin Hotel and Lahore Adda (which are yet to be confirmed by satellite imagery by ZKF), but it is very surprising that the Respondents have not used the term “Chopped Off” and instead contend that they have “utilized them”. This term amounts to misleading the Court. Furthermore, they have not mentioned the location of the 5545 fresh plants which have been planted. It is pertinent to note that the Honorable Chief Justice had directed that trees of age not less than 2 to 3 years be planted in the place of those chopped off even if they were to be procured from Punjab. It is also pertinent to mention that in advanced countries of the world, no tree is chopped off unless their replacements have grown for at least one or two years in the near vicinity of the same location from where they are to be removed.
Moreover, the respondents have stated that the green belts located on both side of G.T. Road from Rehman Baba Intersection to Ring Road Flyover were improved except for the portion being utilized for the construction of the Nishtarabad Flyover (named as Arbab Khalil Flyover). They state that their improvement work of green belts includes filling of sweet earth, Turfing, Plantation and installation of iron grill over an area measuring 117 Kanals. However, they have again mislead the Court by not stating that about two – three years ago, they spent millions of USAID dollars in the name of improving the gardens of Peshawar, made boundary walls around this whole length of the green belt of Nishtarabad measuring about half Kilometer in length, filled it with sweet earth, did not plant any species of seed / plant and after two years or so scrapped that plan replacing it with pillars of the Gulbahar slip lane leading to the G.T. Road (Annx – F). Same has been the observations of the Honorable Chief Justice during the hearing of subject Writ Petition on 15th of May 2012 when he mentioned many other structures built by PDA from public money and later demolished after few months for the so called improved master plan of development. Views of the Honorable Chief Justice were also published in the newspapers of 16th May 2012 (copy of the one in Daily Aaj is enclosed as Anx - C). It may be suggested that a Commission may please be constituted by this Honorable Court to verify the assertion made by the answering Respondents regarding the plants / green belt location, number and their condition at present. The members of the Commission may also include representatives from the Botany and Environment Departments of Peshawar University, Forest Department, representatives of the Civil Society as well as lawyers.
Paras - 8 & 9:
The contention of the Respondents is again misleading to the extent that firstly, the Environment Protection Act 1997 clearly states in Section 12 that Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) must be carried out where any project is likely to cause an adverse environmental effect. Also SCHEDULE – II (D)(2) in its LIST OF PROJECTS REQUIRING AN EIA states in Transport section that, “Federal or Provincial highways (except maintenance, rebuilding or reconstruction of existing roads) with total cost of Rupees 50 million and above” requires an EIA. Whereas, all Respondents have wrongfully interpreted the exemption as widening / improvement of the existing road, while the Flyover is a mega project estimated to cost a wobbling sum of Rupees 670 million which has also caused an adverse environmental effect. The same can be proved from the following scientific facts titled How Much Oxygen Does One Tree Produce? By Dr. Ann Marie Helmenstine Ph.D (Anx - D):
She quotes Arbor Day Foundation, “a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as ten people inhale in a year”
Here are some other quoted figures regarding the amount of oxygen produced by a tree:
“A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs / year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings.”
“one acre of trees annually consumes the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to that produced by driving an average car for 26000 miles that same acre of trees also produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for a year.” (New York Times)
“On average, one tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of 4”. (Environment Canada, Canada’s national environmental agency)
A study conducted by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) funded by ENERCON / UNDP states that in Peshawar the level of air pollution was 20 times higher than the standard of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is important to point out that this study was made in 2003 – 04 and the situation would be much more alarming today as the traffic on the roads has multiplied manifold compared to that period. The above mentioned facts were stated in the article titled “Pollution in Peshawar” is enclosed as Anx - H
Para – 10, 11 & 12:
Para 10, 11 & 12 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 13:
Comments furnished by Respondents in Para 13 are incorrect and misleading against the fact on record because at the outset, the comments of Respondent 3 are contradictory as in Para No. 8 and 9 of their comments they denied the need of EIA while it contradicts with the Comments of Respondents 2 and 4 which by itself are self contradictory because at the outset they deny the need of EIA while in the same breath, they say that notices were given to Respondent No. 3 to arrange Public Hearing for the surrounding communities to dispel their concerns of environmental damage. In his first letter No: EPA/PDA/EIA/--(unreadable due to bad photocopy) dated: 11th May 2011 which the DG, EPA issued after receiving a protest call from the Petitioner directing the DG, PDA that because of the size of the mega project and sensitivity of the surroundings of the intended Mufti Mehmood Flyover, the EIA should be conducted so that the adverse impacts of the project (if any) could be mitigated at planning stage in consultation with all stake holders. The Question arises that under which rule of law and procedure the DG, EPA desires that EIA should be conducted only because the project is in sensitive areas which include the Central Jail Peshawar, Peshawar High Court, Provincial Assembly and Radio Pakistan, and not because of the adverse affects of the project on the environment.
As a result of the notices issued by EPA (which they have enclosed as Annexure with their comments) the PDA advertised in national and local dailies on 14th September 2011, about the public hearing to be held in GHS No. 1 Peshawar City on 19th September 2011. However, a gross criminal, malafide and intentional omission was committed by all Respondents because the PDA was directed by the D.G. EPA to conduct a Public Hearing for the communities in the near vicinity of both the flyover projects vide their reminder letter no: EPA/PDA/129/015/-17 dated 8th August 2011 but instead the PDA in their advertisement only invited the residents of the Nishtarabad / Gulbahar flyover and did not even mention the communities around the Mufti Mehmood Flyover. It seems, the PDA and the criminal minded officials behind it feared the power and the resistance force of the legal community as well as that of the opposition members of the legislature as a result of which they totally neglected to consult this community. Moreover, section 12 of the Environment Protection Act of 1997 clearly states that Public Hearing and EIA has to be conducted prior to the project planning and the same is stated in the letter of DG, EPA. In letter No. EPA/PDA/109/01 dated: 11th May 2011 it is surprising that the DG, EPA writes to the DG, PDA that only Public Hearing should be conducted for the community effected by the Nishtarabad
Flyover and that he has clearly directed that tree cutting should be stopped until Public Hearing is conducted. The PDA criminally neglected both letters dated 11th May 2011 and after receipt of the written complaint from the Petitioner on 20th July 2011 (Copy enclosed as Annex - E) the DG, EPA issued the reminder letter to PDA on 8th August 2011 (which have been enclosed as Annexure by the Respondents 2 and 4). Hence it is clearly visible and proven that the DG, PDA wasted four months before conducting the Public Hearing for the residents affected by Nishtarabad Flyover AFTER HAVING CHOPPED OFF ALL THE GREEN BELTS / TREES AND WHEN THE CONCRETE PILLARS WERE ALREADY DUG INTO THE ROADS. This Honorable Court is requested to ask all the Respondents whether the Public Hearing must be conducted before / during the planning stage or after the execution of the Mega Projects.
Para – 14:
Comments furnished by Respondent No. 3 in Para No. 14 are incorrect because the said project does not redress the environmental pollution in any way, instead it has caused more pollution by cutting fully grown trees (and also created more traffic problems as we see in reality. Furthermore, the flyover will lift the west bound traffic from opposite the former New Fruit Market on G.T. Road and will drop it back on the same road opposite Rahim Medical Centre near Amin Hotel. It is anticipated that when this traffic will still be up on the flyover, it will not have a smooth integration on the same old congested G.T. Road down below as that spot will act as a bottle neck. This will resultantly create worse traffic jams and traffic congestion problems. The planners have no foresight that when the traffic cop will stop the same traffic opposite Sarhad Chamber of Commerce U Turn and again at the intersection leading to the Frontier College For Women, how long will be the rows of vehicles waiting and how will the fresh traffic coming down from the flyover as well as that coming out of Gulbahar and City Circular Road intersection of Nishtarabad merge with the already congested traffic. The third bottle neck expected to be created is that when the Provincial Assembly is in session and throughout that period, the lane near the Assembly wall is blocked for security and all two way traffic is diverted to the North side lane from Rehman Baba Chowk till the Supreme Court building opposite the PC Hotel. The back log traffic coming from East to West can be well imagined by those who possess wisdom but not otherwise.
It is very surprising that even the Respondents No. 2 and 4 (Secretary Environment and DG, EPA respectively) could not put their foot down and take an honest and bold stand that the subject plans of the politicians and PDA are not in the best interest of the environment and the health of the general public. There is a general perception amongst the civil society and activist groups that if the government servants (Respondents 2 and 4) ever took any honest and bold stand, that could clash with the quick buck making plans of some greedy politicians will anger them and as a result, transfer them out of their positions to far flung areas as a punishment. The fact that the provincial government did not fill the position of the Head of the Environment Tribunal of the province for many months and when that post has been filled no member is being nominated / appointed to complete the strength of the Tribunal so as to make it operational adds more fuel to the speculation that it is because by this strategy there will be no obstruction in the way of committing crimes against environment and humanity and also these two government servants under the Ministry of Environment have no support to fall upon in order to fulfill their duties honestly.
Para – 1:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 1 are incorrect because it is surprising that how did the Respondents decide not to comment on the elimination of Green Belt for the Nishtarabad Flyover and it will add to our knowledge if they quote any International level book on traffic engineering and city planning which states that green belts are meant to be destroyed when need for further road widening arises. It is wondered what will be the next step when further traffic pressure increases within months / years and when the last of the green tree / belt is removed.
Para - 2:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 2 are incorrect and contradictory because the Petitioners state that PDA has confirmed to EPA that the 99 number of chopped off trees has been replaced with 5545 number of trees along the roadside from Mufti Mehmood / Rehman Baba Chowk Flyoever to Ring Road cross section while it is very surprising that on the one hand they have chopped off the trees from Amin Hotel to New Lahore Adda and on the other hand, they are stating that 5545 fresh trees are also replanted in the same portion extending upto the Ring Road. In the second breath in comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 13 of the grounds it states that Respondent 3 has ensured that “it will plant 5545 trees on the both sides of the subject road on the cost of only 99 trees which have been cut down by the Respondent 3.” The Petitioner is pained to see this response because it was his late father Dr. Muhammad Zareef Khan, who prevailed upon the British Government of the time that there was dire need and high time for the residents of the walled city of Peshawar to start living outside the enclosed walled city. At that time, he was Medical Officer for Health of Peshawar Municipality from 1937 to 1945. He was a Medical graduate from K.E in 1928 and a Public Health specialist since 1933. He advised the government due to fear of start of epidemics in the ever increasing population of the old walled city and dared to have the courage to build the first ever house (1-Nishtarabad) outside the city walls by being part of the designing of the first modern and planned residential area of Peshawar City in which house he shifted in 1940 and where the undersigned still resides since 1952. It was named Nishtarabad in honour Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar who also built a house and shifted there in 1944. In November 1945, it became more historic because the Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah stayed for 10 days in the next door No. 2 Nishtarabad for the NWFP session of the Muslim League Convention in November 1945. Until the University Town & Defense Colony etc. came up in early 60s, Nishtarabad was considered a marvel of modern designing of the time with lush green parks, lined streets, and efficient drainage and water supply system. So, this Honorable Court will understand more why the undersigned Petitioner is here.
Para - 3:
Para 3 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 4:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 4 are incorrect because they must mention that the new flyover is the cause of the destruction of the Green Belt.
Para – 5:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 5 are incorrect as responded in Para No. 2 above.
Para – 6:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 6 are incorrect as already commented above.
Para – 7:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 7 are incorrect as already commented above.
Paras - 8:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 8 are incorrect as already commented above.
Para – 9:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 9 needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 10:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 10 needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 11:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 11 are incorrect as already explained in the Paras 8 and 9 of facts above.
Para – 12:
Comments furnished by the Respondents No. 2 and 4 to Para No. 12 needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 13:
Respondents 2 and 4 comment about Para 13 of the old Petitioners “that it will plant 5545 trees on the both sides of the subject road on the cost of only 99 trees which have been cut down by the Respondent 3.” While Respondent No. 3 has stated all along in their comments that they have already planted 5545 trees. It is an equally amazing fact and revelation that although the Respondents are claiming that they have / will plant 5545 trees but there is no mention of this Head in budget break down in Para 13 of Respondent No. 3’s comments. Also there is no mention of budget for improvement of link roads between the city and the Ring Road. The truth and reality must be explored in the greatest interest of the community immediately and directly affected by this impending environmental disaster and the citizens of Peshawar at large.
Para – 14:
Comments furnished by Respondent No. 3 in Para No. 14 are incorrect because the said project does not redress the environmental pollution in any way, instead it has caused more pollution by cutting fully grown trees (and also created more traffic problems as we see in reality. Furthermore, the flyover will lift the west bound traffic from opposite the former New Fruit Market on G.T. Road and will drop it back on the same road opposite Rahim Medical Centre near Amin Hotel. It is anticipated that when this traffic will still be up on the flyover, it will not have a smooth integration on the same old congested G.T. Road down below as that spot will act as a bottle neck. This will resultantly create worse traffic jams and traffic congestion problems. The planners have no foresight that when the traffic cop will stop the same traffic opposite Sarhad Chamber of Commerce U Turn and again at the intersection leading to the Frontier College For Women, how long will be the rows of vehicles waiting and how will the fresh traffic coming down from the flyover as well as that coming out of Gulbahar and City Circular Road intersection of Nishtarabad merge with the already congested traffic.
The third bottle neck expected to be created is that when the Provincial Assembly is in session and throughout that period, the lane near the Assembly wall is blocked for security and all two way traffic is diverted to the North side lane from Rehman Baba Chowk till the Supreme Court building opposite the PC Hotel. The back log traffic coming from East to West can be well imagined by those who possess wisdom but not otherwise.
It is very surprising that even the Respondents No. 2 and 4 (Secretary Environment and DG, EPA respectively) could not put their foot down and take an honest and bold stand that the subject plans of the politicians and PDA are not in the best interest of the environment and the health of the general public. There is a general perception amongst the civil society and activist groups that if the government servants (Respondents 2 and 4) ever took any honest and bold stand, that could clash with the quick buck making plans of some politicians, anger them and as a result transfer them out of their positions to far flung areas as a punishment. The fact that the provincial government is not filling the position of the Head of the Environment Tribunal of the province adds more fuel to the speculation that it is because there will be no obstruction in the way of committing crimes against environment and humanity and also these two government servants have no support to fall upon in order to fulfill their duties honestly.
Para – 15:
Comments furnished by Respondent No. 2 and 4 in Para 15 are incorrect because the flyover of Nishtarabad is also mentioned in the Para 15 of the main Petition while the Respondents No. 2 and 4 in their comments say that Respondent 3 has no plan to carry out any activity in the subject area.
Para – 16 :
Comments furnished by Respondent No. 2 and 4 in Para 16 are incorrect because the vision of Respondent No. 3 does not seem to have a foresight and knowledge which the modern traffic engineering / designing demands and it is our contention that there could be many more government officials responsible to approve this controversial project because at the outset, no department or official worked out as to how much Oxygen these trees produced and how much pollution the vehicles produced in the past as well as in the future.
Para – 17:
Para 17 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 18:
Comments furnished by Respondent No. 2 and 4 in Para 18 are incorrect because it seems that the Respondents are adamant not to learn any lessons from the advanced countries of the world and the question arises firstly why did they choose UK and other advanced countries for their advance studies / Ph.Ds and secondly, it is wondered if they did not gain any knowledge and experience from their study and stay overseas to bring positive change to their homeland, then has that time and knowledge gone waste or not.
Para – 19:
Same reply applies to this Para as given in Para 18 above.
Para – 20:
We feel that it is the discretion of the Honorable Court to extract a reply from the Respondents or not.
Para – 21:
Comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 21 are incorrect because they have evasive replies as to what environmental damage cutting of hundreds of trees will / have caused.
Para – 22:
Comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 22 are incorrect because no mitigation measures were taken.
Para – 23:
Para 23 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 24:
Comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 24 are incorrect because it seems that at the outset Respondent 4 had no plans to challenge the illegal construction of the Nishtarabad / Gulbahar flyover which they have admitted in their comments therein. If this is their position, then the question arises as to why did EPA issue notices to the PDA for arranging only a Public Hearing for the Nishtarabad / Gulbahar flyover which was held over 3 months after the commencement of the project while two notices were served to PDA for arranging a Public Hearing and also an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Mufti Mehmood Flyover over Rehman Baba and Bacha Khan Chowks.
Para – 25:
Para 25 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 26:
Comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 26 are incorrect because the Respondents have given contradictory statements as here they state that PDA has planted 5545 trees in substitute of 99 trees cut while in their comments for Para 13 above they state that Respondent No. 3 (PDA) has ensured that it will plant 5545 trees on both sides of the subject road on the cost of only 99 trees which have been cut down by the Respondent No. 3.
Para – 27:
Comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 27 are incorrect because that firstly, they themselves admit that the pollution (CO2)in Gulbahar / Nishtarabad area is thousands time more than the trees which Respondent 3 have cut would have consumed while they have not given figures of how much Oxygen these trees were producing. Also the statistics about the consumption of CO2 given by the Respondents should be taken with a pinch of salt and the Honorable Court is requested to get them verified from the Department of Environmental Sciences University of Peshawar and Department of Botany of University of Peshawar while we will verify from our scientific connections overseas and outside this province. Secondly, EPA has not come out with the statistics they have got from the research jointly done with the German Agency (GTZ) in 1995 which determined that the pollution level between Lahore Adda and Rehman Baba Chowk (Suray Pul) on G.T. Road was hundreds of times more than the standard universal dangerous levels. One can imagine what will be the dangerous state after 17 years. All these figures are available with EPA because they regularly monitor the situation but are reluctant to share the same with the public and this Honorable Court.
Para – 28:
Comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 28 are incorrect to the extent that they do not consider the trees that they have chopped off as priceless, historic and natural resources.
Para – 29:
Comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 29 are incorrect because Respondents should read Para 18 of this Rejoinder again and may be the message registers this time.
Para – 30:
Since the Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 30 agree with the contention of the Petitioners then how on the other hand they are confused whether to conduct the EIA or not in public interest. Had they been the friends of the citizens of Peshawar in particular and the humanity at large, they would have organized research to determine the ratio and proportion of chest and other diseases in any two different scenarios of life and health of citizens residing in the sample criminal level of pollution as prevails in the vicinity of the two new flyovers compared with life and health of citizens in less polluted area (below dangerous levels). For such a research, dozens of foreign donors would have been willing to finance.
Para – 31:
Comments furnished by Respondents 2 and 4 in Para 31 are incorrect because they are disagreeing with the scientifically proven facts and statistics universally published and recognized. Hence it is requested that this Honorable Court either directs the government to hold a seminar, verify that the statement of the Respondents is correct or wrong and then order the necessary legal action and direction whether such officials should hold their positions or relinquish the same.
Para – 32:
Para 32 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 33:
Para 33 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 34:
Para 34 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 35:
Para 35 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 36:
Para 36 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
Para – 37:
Para 37 by Respondents needs no comments / Rejoinder.
It is, therefore, humbly prayed that in the light of the rejoinder, on behalf of Abid Zareef Khan the Fresh Petitioner, the comments of the respondent No. 2,3,4 may kindly be dismissed and on the acceptance of the Writ Petitions the respondent may be directed not to undertake further work without the consultation of the stakeholders and the directions. It is, therefore, humbly prayed that in the light of Rejoinder the comments furnished by Respondents may graciously be dismissed and Writ Petition may please be accepted.Petitioner
Abid Zareef Khan
Advocate High Court
Office: 303-D Janbaz Hotel, Khyber Bazaar,
I, Anwar Shah Advocate High Court solemnly affirm and declare on oath on behalf of Petitioner that the contents of this Rejoinder are true and correct in accordance with his instruction and that nothing has been concealed intentionally from this Honorable Court.