LAHORE: Last week, while hearing several petitions pertaining to the long marches called by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, the courts appeared to have issued contrary orders on similar petitions.
On August 12, Justice Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah, on a petition by Advocate Hassan Awais, directed the police to remove “unnecessary shipping containers” at various points around Model Town that were inconveniencing residents. The court also directed the Lahore district coordination officer to ensure smooth supply of fuel in the city.
A similar petition was taken up by a full bench of the LHC on August 13. The bench headed by Justice Mahmood Ahmad Bhatti ordered the provincial government to remove all shipping containers from roads and allow protesters safe passage.
The provincial government challenged the order through a review petition which was fixed for hearing the same day. The court dismissed that petition and upheld the order it had passed earlier.
However the government placed more containers in and around Model Town and effectively quarantined PAT workers in Model Town.
The same day, a similar petition was taken up by another full bench of the LHC headed by Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan. The court issued a short order restraining the PTI and the PAT from launching “unconstitutional” long marches or sit-ins in Islamabad.
The judgment was interpreted by both the PAT and the PTI; and the government as being in their favour. The protesters claimed that they would carry their respective long marches in a “constitutional” way. On the other hand, the government interpreted the order as meaning that the PTI and the PAT would not be allowed to hold their marches.
On August 14, the court issued a detailed judgment that ruled that PTI chief Imran Khan’s statement that a judicial commission appointed by the prime minister would be unable to perform its duties independently, was contemptuous.
Releasing Gullu Butt
On August 12, a division bench of the LHC granted bail and ordered the release of Gullu Butt on furnishing Rs200,000 bail bonds. Butt was caught on video smashing cars during clashes between PAT workers and the police at the Minhajul Quran International Secretariat on June 17.
The very next day, the provincial government moved a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the concession of bail granted to Butt.
Last week, the LHC suspended the appointment of Accountant General Javed Jehangir and allowed Imran Iqbal to continue working as AGP. Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan issued the order on a petition by Iqbal. The petitioner argued that the auditor general had transferred him and appointed Javed Jehangir as the AGP even though the auditor general did not have the powers to do so. He said only the comptroller general of accounts had the power to appoint an accountant general.
Last week, the LHC restrained the sessions court from proceeding on Arsalan Iftikhar’s petition seeking the registration of a criminal case against his business partner, Mian Atif.
The petitioner claimed that Arsalan Iftikhar, son of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had filed a petitioner under Sections 22-A and 22-B of the Criminal Code of Procedure seeking registration of a case for the non-encashment of a cheque for Rs70.28 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th,2014.