Due to the heavy smog in the provincial capital, the Lahore High Court (LHC) ruled on Tuesday that schools and universities should remain closed for an additional week during the winter break.
The director-general of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has been ordered to appear in court at the next scheduled hearing on the various petitions seeking action to reduce smog in Lahore.
During the hearing, the judge remarked, “Smog is under control to an extent,” before adding that it is the government’s responsibility to regulate smog levels.
Theatres can stay open until 11 p.m. thanks to LHC.
By way of a separate petition, LHC extended theatre hours from 9:30 to 11:30 pm, instructing district administration to make the change public.
After hearing a petition from the Punjab Artist Producer Theatre Association about the closure of theatres, Justice Shahid Karim issued the directives.
The association had contested the validity of the notices of suspension sent to late-night movie theatres.
Justice Karim stated during the hearing that smog control is a priority for everyone, not just the children.
Justice Karim advocated for a change in attitude and behaviour toward power in order to maintain it.
The hearing was eventually postponed until this coming Friday by the judge (December 30).
weekends off from classes
Due to dangerously high smog levels in the province, the LHC ordered the Punjab government to announce a weekly three-day school closure on December 7.
In response to the directive, the Punjab school education department issued a formal notification mandating the additional weekend offs for all schools in the Lahore district, both public and private. In the meantime, private businesses were also urged to close on these days.
The court had also ordered the early closing of markets and restaurants in the city as smog continued to blanket the area.
On December 14, LHC Justice Shahid Karim ordered authorities to shut down all markets by 10 p.m. and to strictly enforce directives regarding the closure of schools.
Pakistan’s air quality has deteriorated in recent years due to the accumulation of low-grade diesel fumes, smoke from seasonal crop burn off, and smog brought on by the colder winter temperatures.
The city of Lahore, Pakistan, with a population of over 11 million and located in the province of Punjab close to the border with India, is consistently ranked as one of the most polluted in the world.
Residents have resorted to making their own air purifiers and suing government officials in recent years in an attempt to improve air quality, but officials have been slow to act, pinning the problem on India or arguing that the numbers are inflated.
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