Another AGP in hot water with Lahore High Court

Fails to appear for Model Town case hearing in which his predecessor was issued contempt notice


Our Correspondent July 04, 2019
Lahore High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: A full bench of the Lahore High Court expressed its displeasure over the failure of the advocate general Punjab to appear in a case which challenged the formation of a fresh joint investigation team to probe the Model Town Massacre.

As the three-member bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, asked about the AGP, the additional advocate general Mushtaq Mohal informed the court that he was absent due to some engagements.

This annoyed the bench which observed that judicial work should be given priority over meeting someone. The bench further remarked that the conduct of the AGP was tantamount to committing contempt of court.

This latest development in the case is not long after former AGP Ahmed Awais was issued a contempt of court notice on the same matter. At the time, the court said that when it restrained the new JIT from probing the Model Town massacre, the former AGP and dozens of law officers appeared in court and took possession of the rostrum. “The AGP started shouting that this court could not pass any interim order without affording him the opportunity of a hearing.”

NAB restrained from further action

A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court, headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, restrained NAB from taking any action against Rana Mashhood till the next hearing of the case.

Meanwhile, the bench also issued a notice to NAB authorities to submit their reply in this case by July 24. Petitioner Rana Mashhood Khan challenged a NAB notice issued to him related to an inquiry into alleged corruption in the organisation of the Youth Festival during his time as minister.

The petitioner pleaded with the court that NAB should be told to reveal who ordered the reopening of the inquiry against his client Rana Mashhood, despite the matter being closed in the past. He contended that NAB had issued a letter in 2017, mentioning the inquiry had been closed. The counsel further claimed that the bureau had launched a character assassination campaign against PML-N leaders. The lawyer believed that this latest move was all part of the campaign.

He also wrote to NAB, seeking relevant documents of the nature of NAB’s inquiry. However, this was not entertained. He added that the bureau, through its press releases, humiliates politicians rather than providing relevant documents, he added.

The petitioner asked the court that NAB be ordered to put an end to the character assassination campaign. He also sought directions for NAB to submit the records of the case inquiry being initiated against him.

He asked that his name be removed from the ‘blacklist’, while the notice by NAB should be declared null and void.

Mashood fearing road travel

Meanwhile, speaking to the media outside the Lahore High Court, Mashhood said he even feared traveling in his own vehicle after the dramatic arrest of former provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah in an alleged smuggling case.

Speaking about his own case, Mashhood said the NAB notice for an inquiry which had been previously closed, was an attempt to humiliate him in the public eye. He questioned how the bureau could reopen such a matter.

Slamming the PTI government, the PML-N leader said the institutions have failed to deliver to the masses and NAB was adamant to humiliate politicians. He pointed out that the bureau falls under the Constitution and cannot do as it pleases.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2019.

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