KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered the law enforcers on Tuesday to continue the crackdown on the sale of gutka and mawa, while hearing a plea seeking an end to the sale of harmful concoctions in Thatta and Sujawal.
The directive was issued by a two-member bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Agha Faisal.
Sujawal DSP informed the bench that the sale has been completely stopped while the operation against gutka and mawa sellers is in progress. He claimed that the petitioner and the accused had a dispute over the possession of a piece of land. The DSP termed the conflict “political” in nature, adding that it has been made into an issue pertaining to gutka.
According to a report submitted by the police to the SHC during the hearing, 93 cases against the sale of gutka and mawa have been registered in Thatta and Sujwala over the period of last two months. Moreover, two factories manufacturing the concoctions have been sealed, the report states.
The court sought a counter reply from the petitioner’s counsel on the report.
Ordering to continue crackdown on the sale of gutka and mawa, it adjourned the hearing till January 14.
Meanwhile, another two-member bench, comprising Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh and Justice Omar Sial, directed the citizens defrauded in the name of a housing project in Clifton to directly approach the National Accountability Bureau for reclaiming the amount they invested in the project.
The court issued the directive while hearing the bail plea filed by the accused in the case, builder Sikandar Abdul Kareem. He is accused of defrauding 600 citizens.
The counsels for the affected persons informed the court that bookings for the apartments were made in 1992 but the project has not been executed till now. They maintained that many allottees have died over the years since and when the remaining ones approach the builder demanding the possession of apartments, they are threatened and driven away. Kareem had fled the country after defrauding the citizens, the counsels maintained, adding that he has now returned to Pakistan. Most of the people who were allotted apartments in the Silver Sands project haven’t approached any forum to reclaim their money or apartments, they informed the court.
At this, Justice Shaikh remarked that if given a chance, these builders would even sell graveyards. He said that they have built plazas on the land allocated for parks and over nullahs, adding that “they act innocent after looting the citizens.”
The counsel for the accused claimed that the builder has returned the money to three of the affected persons. In response, Justice Shaikh remarked that mark-up amount should be paid to the affected persons as well.
Directing the affected citizens to directly approach NAB for the refund of their investment, the court ordered the anti-graft watchdog to submit a progress report of the case on December 18.
Another bench, comprising Justice KK Agha and Justice Zulfiqar Ali Sangi, rejected the plea filed against the sentence awarded to two persons convicted of killing a citizen during a robbery bid.
Announcing the verdict on the plea, the court maintained the sentence awarded to Farman and Jahangir for shooting Hafiz Abdul Aala to death.
According to the prosecution, cases against the convicts were registered under different sections of the Pakistan Penal Code at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Police Station in 2011.
Judge recuses himself
In the meantime, Justice Shaikh recused himself from hearing the bail pleas of Prisons Adviser Aijaz Jakhrani and his front men and forwarded the case to Justice Iqbal Kalhoro’s bench.
The pleas were presented before the bench comprising Justice Shaikh and Justice Sial.
According to NAB, Jakhrani has been accused in cases pertaining to money laundering and fake bank accounts.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2019.