ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court Thursday reserved its verdict over maintainability of a petition seeking details of the money trail of incumbent Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Justice Mansoor Ali Shah from 2004 when he got loan of Rs350 million and allegedly got it written off as the managing director of Mansoor Textile Mills and Aaj Textiles.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the petition moved by a lawyer Anwar Dar through his counsel Inam-ur-Rahiem Advocate and reserved the judgment after hearing their arguments in this matter.

In his petition, he cited the chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, United Bank president, journalist Umer Cheema and the secretary of the Punjab Bar Council as respondents.

Through this petition, the petitioner has sought the details from Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and UBL bank about the loans given to the two textile unity of Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah which were later got written off.

The IHC bench heard this petition with objections raised by the registrar office that the petitioner already filed an application in this regard before the LHC registrar office.

Advocate Inam contended that the said issue is no more relevant as the petitioner has now filed a reference against Justice Shah before the Supreme Judicial Council. He was of the view that through this petition, the petitioner is only seeking information from SECP and UBL related to Justice Shah. After hearing his arguments, the IHC bench reserved its verdict in this regard.

Anwar maintained in his petition that he was shocked when he came across a news report published on August 08, 2016 regarding the incumbent LHC CJ who as per report got his Rs350 million loan written off in 2004 when he was Managing Director (MD) of Mansoor Textile Mills and Aaj Textiles in district Jhang. He added that this news report was neither controverted nor withdrawn till to date.

His counsel adopted before the court that to establish the veracity of the report, his client forwarded a written request on June 15, 2017 to Registrar LHC under the ‘Right to Access of Information’ seeking provision of the information regarding period during which Justice Shah, remained associated with two textile mills in Shorkot, District Jhang. The amount of loan got written off and whether or not any installment was paid to the Bank, date on which Justice Shah was enrolled as an advocate/member of lower courts, member of High Court, the date/period during which Justice Shah had his licence suspended (if any) due to engagement in commercial activities and the detail of grant he received from Punjab Government for the treatment of his son abroad.

He stated that in response to his written request, he got no response from the LHC registrar office and the petitioner then forwarded written request to secretary PBC for obtaining the following information, the date on which Justice Shah was enrolled as an advocate/member of lower courts, the date on which he was enrolled as member of high court and the date/period during which Justice Shah had his licence suspended if any.

Inam continued that till date the above said information was not provided by any quarter.

He argued that prima facie, it is evident from the conduct of SECP and PBC that Justice Shah had not got his licence suspended and remained fully involved in his business relating to textile mills as Managing Director and he committed a serious misconduct and he was not worthy to even hold his licence as a practicing advocate of high court in the light of Legal Practitioner & Bar Council Act (LPBCA).

The counsel said that on the above said facts, his client also filed a reference under Article 209 in the Supreme Judicial Council on July 5, 2017 which is likely to come up for hearing, therefore, the petitioner is required as of right to get the above said information from the respondents to supplement his reference.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct SECP Chairman to provide information regarding the period during which Justice Mansoor remained director and beneficiary of textile mills or any other industrial unit.

He also requested the court that President UBL may be directed to provide the complete detail/money trail of the loans obtained and written off by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and journalist Umar Cheema may be directed to provide complete record/information on the basis of which he prepared his investigation report.

The petitioner further requested that secretary PBC may be directed to provide complete service record of Justice Mansoor Ali Shah as an advocate.

SHAHID RAO