“Lahore Bachao Tehreek” Press Conference

Lahore Bachao Press Conference tomorrow 17 July 2009 at 5pm at the Lahore Press Club

The Lahore Bachao Tehreek will be holding a press conference at the Lahore Press Club at 5pm tomorrow Friday 17 July 2009.  LBT will be issuing a press statement against the LDA’s proposed commercialization of 58 roads in Lahore.  It will also address the recent news that the Chief Minister of Punjab has directed that the Canal Bank Road widening project be re-examined.

The LBT is not against development or commercialization.  However, it believes that both must be subject to law and respect the context of the great city of Lahore.  Briefly stated:

– The proposed commercialization is without the cover of law;

– The manner in which public opinion has been solicited in relation to the proposed commercialization allows vested interests to thrive;

– Commercialization is not the appropriate means for the LDA to generate revenue;

– Commercialization makes efficient public transport impossible;

– Commercialization increases the pollution in an area and cannot be allowed without an environment impact assessment of the proposed commercialization.

We must be present at the press conference in great numbers to show our support.

With best regards,
Rafay Alam

Below are the minutes of the meeting of the Meeting of the Lahore Bachao Tehreek held yesterday:

Minutes of the meeting of the Lahore Bachao Tehreek held in the romantic atmosphere of the ground floor of the Nairang Art Gallery at 5.30pm on 15 July 2009.

The meeting was attended by:
Zahra Shah
Kamil Khan Mumtaz
Jalees Hazir
Rizwan Mahmood
Noveen Abid
Iftikhar Ahmed
Colonel (retired) Ijaz Nazim     Dr. Ejaz Anwar
Tamkinat Karim
Imrana Tiwana
Rafay Alam
Shoaib Ahmad

Imrana Tiwana convened the meeting and set out the agenda items as (i) the planned felling of trees situated in the Faletti’s Hotel compound and the proposed construction of a 23-floor building at the site; (ii) the news item reporting the Chief Minister of Punjab had requested TEPA to re-examine the proposal to widen the Canal Road; and (iii) the LDA’s public consultancy process for the proposed commercialization of 58 roads.

Imrana pointed out that Rafay Alam and herself have been appointed as members of the committee set up to finalize the plan to commercialize the 58 roads.

Tamkinat Karim stated that LBT should make a presentation to the LDA commercialization committee as well as to the Chief Minister directly.

Kamil Khan Mumtaz agreed that LBT should make a presentation before the LDA commercialization committee. Kamil Sahib explained that the public consultancy started by the LDA was not how urban planning was undertaken. Urban planning, he explained, was highly technical in nature and could not be left to vested interests. He proposed that LBT be opposed to such decision making. Kamil Sahib explained that commercialization was a form of revenue generation for the LDA and criticized such a basis for commercialization.

Imrana Tiwana pointed out that LBT is not against development and not against commercialization. She explained that commercialization must be in context.

Rizwan Mahmood proposed that, instead of commercializing road, the LDA should look towards commercializing zones and areas.

Tamkinat Karim suggested that any future strategy should highlight legal strengths and use the media for maximum exposure.

Rafay Alam explained the status of LBT litigation. The Supreme Court’s suo motu notice of the Canal widening project had, more or less, completed its turn after the Chief Secretary of the Punjab undertook to conduct an EIA of the project (which was subsequently conducted). The LBT has challenged the EIA before the Lahore High Court, where the case remains pending. If any step is taken by the government on the basis of the two-year old EIA, Rafay suggested that it would be sufficient grounds to hold it up for a while through litigation.

Rafay proposed that LBT should prepare its objections to the LDA commercialization. Since commercialization is a wider issue than the Canal road widening project, he suggested that the LBT hold another “People’s Conference” where stake holders can brief the public about urban planning and commercialization. He also suggested the LBT arrange a meeting with the Chief Minister.

Imrana Tiwana highlighted the efforts made the Chief Minister in blocking previous attempts to commercialize city roads and his removal of billboards from the city.

Jalees Hazir suggested that the other architect members of LBT should be involved in creating a viable alternative of the city.

It was decided that a press conference should be held on Friday 17 July 2009 in which LBT will present its objections to the proposed commercialization of 58 roads. Dr. Ejaz Anwar is to inquire and inform others as to a suitable time for a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Friday. Rafay Alam and Jalees Hazir (and others) will submit their objections to the proposed commercialization to Kamil Khan Mumtaz, who will finalize the same. The LBT press statement so prepared will be translated into Urdu by Tamkinat Karim. 30-40 copies of English and Urdu language statements should be prepared. Jalees is to email matter for the preparation, by Rizwan Mahmood, of a banner to be displayed during the press conference. All members are requested to inform their media contacts of the press conference. Zahra Shah is to contact educational institutions and establish contacts with their respective environment groups.

The meeting was adjourned to the Friday at the Lahore Press Club at the time to be intimated by Dr. Ejaz Anwar. Deliberations about the trees at Falettis and more strategy brainstorming are to take place at the LBT meeting after the press conference.

I am attaching some documents for everyone’s attention:

– An article documenting 4 case studies of how removal of highways actually results in better traffic (http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.infrastructurist.com/2009/07/06/huh-4-cases-of-how-tearing-down-a-highway-can-relieve-traffic-jams-and-help-save-a-city/);
– A recent article about the air pollution in Lahore (http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Islamabad/18-Jun-2009/Lahore-tops-list-of-most-polluted-cities);
– An article by me on the subject of commercialization and environment (http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.opfblog.com/4242/commercialisation-urban-planning-and-the-environment-by-ahmad-rafay-alam/).

Best regards,
Rafay Alam

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One response to ““Lahore Bachao Tehreek” Press Conference

  1. Irfan Saeed

    what is the parmanent Appt of Imrana Tiwana