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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the Punjab government to empower the local government and release funds to Lahore mayor to address the smog situation and eliminate encroachments from the city.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka appeared on behalf of the petitioner and argued that the main difference between developing and developed countries was the empowerment and autonomy of local governments.

Lahore Mayor Col (retd) Mubashar appeared before the court and regretted that the bureaucracy doesn’t take direction from the elected representatives of local bodies despite orders from the Supreme Court. He alleged that the Punjab government has specifically given orders to commissioners to not release funds to the local government’s elected representatives.
Read more: Punjab govt announces 3-day closure of educational institutions in Lahore amid smog

Justice Shahid Karim observed that the local government’s role could not be neglected keeping in view Article 140A of the Constitution.

Justice Karim stated that the Punjab government should come out of petty politics and empower the local bodies without which encroachments and air pollution could not be curbed.

Earlier, a provincial law officer produced a notification that private and public sector schools, as well as private offices in Lahore, shall remain closed three days a week. He stated that this measure would help curb smog.

The court deferred the hearing for a week.

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