A two-member bench of the Sindh High Court, comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, gave the provincial government till April 29 to submit its reply on a plea pertaining to handing over the control of Sindh's islands to the federal government.
The provincial government's lawyer, advocate Shaharyar Mahar informed the court that the presidentially promulgated Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance had lapsed.
However, the court observed that the issue now was about mangroves. Why has the Sindh government not submitted its reply as yet, inquired the bench.
At this, Mahar requested the court to grant an extension for the submission of reply.
Justice Mazhar remarked that environmental concerns were important and concrete steps should be taken for the protection of mangroves.
Granting the extension, the court directed the Sindh government to submit its reply by April 29.
Local govt elections
The same bench directed the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's counsel to submit the party's final reply on the pleas pertaining to local government elections and the results of the 2017 census.
The deputy attorney-general informed the court that the Council of Common Interest (CCI) would approve the results of the census but the CCI meeting was delayed as Prime Minister Imran Khan was infected with the coronavirus.
However, the petitioner informed the court that the premier was meeting with ministers despite being infected by the virus.
During the hearing, MQM-P's counsel contended that citizens were being deprived of their constitutional right given the delays in local body elections and the failure to release census results.
At this, the court directed the MQM-P's counsel to read the new local government system rules and remarked that the elections would now be held in accordance with them.
Directing the MQM-P to inform the court whether they wanted to pursue the case in the high court or the Supreme Court by April 14, the bench adjourned the hearing till April 14.
Separately, the Election Commission of Pakistan Islamabad secretary submitted a reply in before the court in the case pertaining to dual nationality of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and recently elected senator, Faisal Vawda.
The reply states that Vawda is misguiding the court by using different delaying tactics therefore his plea should be rejected and a penalty should be imposed on him. It states that the decision of ECP was exactly according to the law.
The reply further states that Vawda did not reply to the ECP's questions and upon being asked, claimed that his mother was unwell that's why he was not mentally prepared.
The ECP secretary has also attached all the decisions taken in the procedure with the reply.
Intezar murder case
Meanwhile, the court sought a copy of the Supreme Court's order pertaining to the bail pleas of the accused police officials in citizen Intezar's murder case.
The court directed the counsels of accused, Tariq Raheem and Tariq Mehmood, to present arguments at the next hearing slated for April 27.
According to police, eight officials of the Anti-Vehicle Lifting Cell have been arrested for the killing of citizen Intezar in Defence Housing Authority (DHA) in January 2018.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2021.
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