SC extends stay in Peshawar BRT project

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday extended the duration of its stay order given against a Peshawar High Court (PHC) directive to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to thoroughly investigate the Peshawar Rapid Bus Transport (BRT) project.

The PHC in November last year had directed the FIA to conduct an inquiry into different aspects of the bus project. However, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government and Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) moved the apex court against the verdict. Subsequently in February this year, the top court had stayed the probe.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the top court chided defense over the continuous delay in the completion of the project and observed that it is an example of taking “one step forward and two backward”.

The petitioner claimed that parts of the project continue to be demolished after construction is completed.

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Inquiring from the defense counsel about the completion date of the project, Justice Bandial said that the provincial government cannot dodge concerns about transparency.

Upon asking, defense apprised the court that the completion date of the project was July 31, however, the construction work came to a halt due to the unprecedented outbreak of the novel coronavirus. “A new completion date has not been given by the contractors as of yet,” it said.

The SC judge stressed that the BRT project is being made from the taxpayer’s money and the provincial government is responsible for utilising the funds in a transparent manner.

“Questions will be asked if the money is wasted,” Justice Bandial said. “public money should be used carefully.”

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