KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued notices on Friday to the federal and Sindh government, National Highway Authority (NHA) chairman and others for April 11 regarding the non-completion of Gharo-Keti Bandar road project despite an investment of Rs3.5 billion.
A two-member bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and comprising Justice Agha Faisal, was hearing the plea filed by locals on the non-completion of the ambitious project.
The plaintiff's lawyer, Advocate Masood Shah, observed that in 2007, the NHA laid the foundation of the road with an investment of Rs3 billion, then the contract was given to a private company but the road still could not be constructed till 2017. Later, the project was handed over to Nawaz Sharif with an additional investment of Rs500 million, after which the project was handed over to the provincial government. However, till date neither the project is completed nor the accountability of the funds is given. The non-completion of the road has affected about 400,000 locals.
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School vans' CNG
The same bench issued orders on Friday against the use of CNG cylinders in school vans. The court issued written orders according to which the director of Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan was issued a show cause notice on being absent.
The court warned that arrest warrants will be issued if he remains absent on next hearing. The court also inquired about the number of cars allowed to install CNG cylinders and summoned details in a report from relevant authorities by April 9.
According to the transport secretary, a letter was written to the director of the institute but no reply was received.
The petition maintained that using substandard CNG cylinders in school vans causes severe accidents due to which many lives have been lost.
Medical admission case
The same bench asked for replies from parties on Friday by April 24 on a plea against not admitting the children of dock workers into Dr Asim Hussain's Ziauddin Medical University in Karachi.
The plaintiff's lawyer observed that as per the contract, the university annually was obligated to give admissions in MBBS and Pharmacy department every year to eight children of the workers. Ziauddin University was giving admissions as per the 20-year contract, but it has suddenly stopped giving admissions. By not giving admission, the university is playing with the future of workers' children, the lawyer said adding that the Ziauddin University must be directed to give admissions. The court, seeking replies from the university, adjourned the hearing.
Illegal assets' case
The SHC gave time to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday till May 3 to submit the final report regarding illegal assets' case against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Ghulam Qadir Palejo.
A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Ahmed Ali Sheikh and comprising Justice Omar Sial, was hearing the plea in which the court was informed of the NAB's decision to close the inquiry against Palejo. The investigation officer said that during the investigation, no evidence against Palejo was found that he made more assets than income. A request had been sent to Islamabad office to close the inquiry.
The court gave NAB time to submit the final report till May 3 and adjourned the hearing. The plaintiff's lawyer observed that inquiry was underway against Palejo since past two years yet no evidence has surfaced.
The same bench extended the bail on Friday of environment minister Taimur Talpur till May 10. The NAB authorities informed that Talpur was summoned countless times for his statement but he failed to appear.
The CJ summoned Talpur on Monday and remarked that if he doesn't show up then his bail plea might be rejected.
Talpur said that NAB was misleading the court as he had gone to NAB.
CJ asked NAB authorities if they keep a record of the accused who appear before NAB.
NAB officials replied that it is recorded in the visitor's log, on which the court expressed its displeasure and asked why the accused were called visitors. The CJ further instructed NAB to install CCTV cameras so that they could keep a record of who came and who didn't
The court, extending the bail till May 10, adjourned the hearing.
Talpur, in his petition, had maintained that in January 2019 NAB sent him a call-up notice and asked for the details of his assets. He claimed that he did not know the charges against him and so NAB must be barred from arrest.
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Police charged for theft
The SHC on Friday sought the medical report of accused from jail authorities after directing the plaintiff to contact additional inspector-general (IG) of police in the case of withdrawal of money by police from the account of arrested citizen Asif Ali.
A two member bench, comprising Justice Aftab Ali Gorar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, was hearing the plea in which the plaintiff's lawyer, Advocate Muzammil Mumtaz, maintained that Mubina Town Police Station SHO Abu Umar and his team had arrested Asif Ali on February 16. At the time of arrest, police recovered two mobile phones and Rs70,000 from Asif Ali's home. However, a few days later through Asif's ATM card the police allegedly withdrew Rs100,000. The police also injured Asif in a fake police encounter and registered the case.
The court directed the plaintiff to contact the additional IG and said that if he didn't respondent to the matter, then we will look into it. The court also asked for the medical report of accused from jail authorities and adjourned the hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2019.