KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday issued notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) chief on a petition seeking ineligibility of Federal Minister Faisal Vawda due to his dual nationality, and issued final warning to the lawyer to submit a reply by December 20.
A two-member bench heard the case in which the defence lawyer asked for more time to submit a reply along with other documents. The court remarked that the lawyer was issued notices on regular basis and hence the reply should have been submitted by now. The court extended the deadline till December 20. The court expressed anger on not receiving a reply from the election commission and issued notice to the ECP chief to submit a reply by the next hearing no matter what.
Advocate Qadir Mandokhail argued in the petition that Vawda wasn’t eligible to hold public office according to Article 62. Vawda showed his properties in Dubai, Malaysia and the UK as loaned properties. There was no mention of a foreign account in the nomination papers and no money trail of the foreign properties was given. Vawda, despite possessing property worth billions hasn’t paid any tax since 2015. Returning Officer rejected the request against Vawda by saying that he had surrendered the dual nationality. However, there was no evidence that Vawda had surrendered the American nationality in the records of the Returning Officer.
The hearing of a case against the central leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party Faryal Talpur, Manzoor Wassan, Suhail Anwer and others for holding Iqama (work permit) was adjourned till January 14 due to the absence of lawyers. A two-member bench, hearing the case, expressed annoyance over the absence of the lawyers and asked them to come prepared for arguments in the next hearing.
Jam Khan Shoro
The SHC on Wednesday extended the pre-arrest bail till January 11 granted to former local government minister Jam Khan Shoro in a case pertaining to the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) inquiry.
A two-member bench of the SHC hearing the case, asked the NAB prosecutor where the documents regarding the meeting of Karachi Development Authority (KDA) were.
The NAB prosecutor told the court that there were signatures of Shoro on the minutes of the meeting. The bench remarked that until the minutes of that meeting were presented before the court, how could they ascertain facts.
The court directed the NAB prosecutor to submit the meeting minutes by thr next hearing and directed the Investigation Officer (IO) of the NAB to get prepared.
According to NAB, three inquiries were in progress against Shoro. The NAB had submitted its reply on the plea challenging the inquiries. The court asked Shoro’s counsel to file comments on NAB’s response and extended the bail till December 22.
In 2017, Shoro transferred 62 government plots to his alleged frontman, Oshak Rahojo.
The former KDA director-general Nasir Abbas had already been arrested in the same case.
The auction of the plots caused a loss of Rs180 million to the national exchequer.
Shoro was also accused of taking bribes through his front men in Malir District Municipal Corporation (DMC).
The NAB had claimed that the former administrator of the Malir DMC, Abdul Rasheed, and Muhammad Anwar were reportedly the front men of Shoro, who used to collect monthly bribes for him. These men have already confessed to their crimes. The former minister was also accused to have illegally obtained 262 acres of agricultural land in Deh Kohistan in District Thatta.
The SHC issued notices to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and other authorities for December 19, regarding the petition against the likely demolition of shops in Lea Market belonging to 172 shopkeepers. The court remarked that this market is the same as Empress Market and houses illegal shops.
A two-member bench heard the case in which the petitioner’s lawyer argued that KMC should be stopped from demolishing these shops.The court issued notices to KMC and other authorities directing the related authorities to submit a detailed reply in this regard by the next hearing. The petition said that the shopkeepers were given permission to construct shops by KMC at their own expense. The city mayor allowed them to turn vegetable stalls into general shops which were constructed after the approval of the building plan.
The SHC on Wednesday directed the additional inspector-general (IG) to take personal interest in the missing persons’ case on a petition regarding the non-recovery of a missing person. Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, heading a two-member bench, asked what was the use of forming a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and task force when a single person couldn’t be recovered.
Investigation officers have been working slowly and higher authorities should explain their position.
Petitioner’s lawyer argued that Naeem Ullah was missing since 2015 and hasn’t been recovered yet. The court remarked that the JIT was to recover missing persons but all in vain as people haven’t been recovered despite several efforts of JIT. The petitioner, father of the missing person, argued that the statement was recorded in JIT but the one who recorded it never appeared in court.
According to the report submitted by the police, another man, Mirza Saud Baig went missing in 2015 and has been recovered now. Baig’s wife told the court that he went missing as soon as he reached Karachi airport from Dubai. Agencies released him on Tuesday night.
Education institution funds
The Chief Justice of the SHC Ahmed Ali Sheikh summoned a reply from the education secretary, Directorate of Colleges Hyderabad and others while taking notice of the non-availability of basic facilities in educational institutions across Sindh, and ordered the relevant authorities to submit a report as soon as possible. The notice maintained that educational institutions of Hyderabad, Sajawal, Badin and several other areas do not have fundamental facilities such as toilets for students.
Information department corruption
The SHC on Wednesday issued notices to National Accountability Bureau seeking their replies by December 21 on the bail plea of accused Umar Shahzad and Gulzar Ahmed in the corruption reference worth Rs5.76 billion in the Sindh Information Department. A two-member bench heard the case in which the petitioner’s lawyer contended that Gulzar Ahmed was old, had been in prison for a year and that his condition was worsening with each passing day. The court summoned a reply from NAB and adjourned the hearing. According to NAB, the case against the accused is under trial in an accountability court.
KPT corruption reference
The SHC reserved the verdict on the bail pleas of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s MPA Javed Hanif and others accused in the case pertaining to corruption in Karachi Port Trust (KPT), illegal use of authority and unlawful recruitment,.
A two-member bench, headed by Justice Iqbal Kalhoro, heard the bail pleas in which the court reserved its verdict until the arguments of the accused’s lawyers and NAB prosecutor were not completed. The accused include MPA Javed Hanif, Rauf Akhter Farooqi, Mehmood Shareef, Ameer Ali Brohi and Haji Mohammad Supras. The accused submitted their bail pleas after arrest.
According to NAB, Javed Hanif is accused of corruption and illegal use of authority. As many as 940 unlawful recruitments were made in the Karachi Port Trust with the help of the Minister of Ports and Shipping Babar Ghauri. The recruitments were made against the KPT rules as they were made without any advertisements. The unlawful recruitments caused a loss of more than Rs2 billion to the national exchequer. The reference against the accused is under trial at an accountability court.
TLP workers’ arrest
The SHC on Wednesday issued notices to the federal and provincial governments and inspector-general (IG) of Sindh police to submit their responses by December 26 regarding the petition against the arrest of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s workers. A two-member bench heard the case in which the petitioner’s lawyer argued that 150 of their workers were unlawfully arrested and they were not even allowed to meet their families. The court, issuing notices, adjourned the hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2018.