KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered on Friday officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to inform the court about the progress in the transfer of the mega money laundering case to a court in Islamabad.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Aftab Gorar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, sought the report while hearing the bail pleas of Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza as well as the petitions against Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) by Anwar Majeed, another accused in the case.
The bench was irked by the investigation officer (IO), Ali Abro’s failure to arrive at the hearing and remarked that the case would not be delayed and summoned him immediately. NAB prosecutor said that FIA had handed over the record of the case to NAB.
The counsel for Raza, Advocate Shaukat Hayat, argued that there was a change in NAB’s reply and requested that the hearing of the bail plea be carried out as his client had been in jail since the past six months. The court remarked that if the case was shifted to Islamabad then the SHC had no authority to hear the bail pleas.
The NAB prosecutor said that NAB chairperson already had signed the request regarding the transfer of the case and within one or two days, the letter would be presented to the court.
The court adjourned the hearing until February 21.
Illegal land allotment
The SHC rejected the medical report of former Karachi administrator Lala Fazlur Rehman who is an accused in the corruption case relating to illegal allotment of government land.
Rehman appeared before the court on a wheelchair. Rehman’s counsel said that his client was unwell and had a medical ailment relating to the spinal cord. The person who wrote a letter to the accused was made a witness in the case by NAB and the accused was granted bail on medical grounds. The lawyer presented his client’s medical report before the court but it was rejected.
According to NAB, Rehman is accused of abusing authority and allotting 265 acres of government land, worth billions, illegally to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).
Heavy traffic ban
Another bench of SHC comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Agha Faisal, summoned Karachi commissioner, Traffic DIG and National Highway Authority (NHA) officials on March 12 on a petition seeking a ban on the entry of heavy traffic in the city.
A report presented before the court stated that all the parties had agreed to the shifting of the bus terminal outside the city. The court remarked that the construction of the terminal should be carried out instead of mere submission of papers.
Justice Mazhar remarked that two months had passed since the report was submitted but no work had been undertaken. The court directed to submit the deadlines of the long-term and short-term projects.
The lawyer for the petitioner argued that there were two terminals in the city, but the representative of transporters association refuted this claim stating there was only one terminal. The court inquired that if a terminal had only been constructed on the National Highway then where would people of the areas linked with Super Highway go. The lawyer said that there was another terminal planned to be constructed at the Super Highway. The transporters’ representative said that there was one terminal at the Northern Highway, 25km away from Karachi, that had no security and robbers easily loot them there. The court inquired as to where were the National Highway Authority (NHA) officials and why there was no security. The court summoned the NHA officials and adjourned the hearing till March 12.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2019.