LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Tuesday dismissed for not being maintainable a petition moved by former LDA DG Ahad Khan Cheema against his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau in Ashiyana Housing Scam

A division bench comprising Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan and Justice Muhammad Tariq Abbasi passed the order, observing that the petition was not maintainable.

Ahad Khan Cheema through his counsel Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar had argued that his arrest by the NAB authorities was illegal and unlawful as it did not follow its own laws and had no justification. He said he cooperated with the bureau during the investigation and provided all the information and documents which was required in the summons. He prayed to the court to set aside the arrest of the petitioner and order the NAB to release him.

However, a NAB prosecutor objected to the maintainability of the petition, contending that the petitioner was under the NAB’s custody. He said a person during his physical remand cannot challenge his arrest. The prosecutor also rejected the impression that the law was not followed in taking Cheema into custody. He said the NAB fulfilled all the requirement before his arrest as he was issued summons twice but he did not respond to the notices.  He pleaded the court to dismiss the petition for not being maintainable.

After hearing both sides, the bench dismissed the petition. However, the same bench sought reply from the NAB on bail petitions moved by LDA chief engineer Israr Saeed and Arif Majeed Butt of Punjab Land Development Company in the Aishiana-i-Iqbal Housing scam. The petitioners said they had nothing to do with the scam rather they were implicated in the case merely for complying with the official direction of Ahad Khan Cheema, the then director general of LDA. They said they had been sent on judicial remand by an accountability court and the NAB authorities did not raise any objection on their release.  They prayed to the court to grant them bail as they were no more required by the bureau for investigation. The bench issued notices to the NAB for April 9.

Appeal against shoe throwers of Nawaz Sharif: The Punjab Prosecution department on Tuesday filed an appeal before the Lahore High Court challenging deletion of section 7 of Anti Terrorism Act 1997 by an anti-terrorism court from a FIR registered against three men involved in hurling shoe on ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif at a ceremony in Jamia Naeemia, Garhi Shahu.  In its appeal, the department said the incident had caused a great sense of fear among political personalities of the country. It said the trial court ordered deletion of the terrorism provision from the case without applying a judicial mind.   The prosecution asked the court to set aside the impugned decision and order restoration of the section 7 of the ATA in the case.   After deleting the section 7 of the ATA, the trial court had referred the case to sessions court for further proceedings.   Qila Gujjar Singh police had initially registered the case against Munawar Hussain, his two associates Abdul Ghafoor and Muhammad Sajid under section 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour person), section 504 (criminal intimidation) of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and section 16 of Maintenance of Public Order. Later the police, during the investigation, had also inserted section 7 of the ATA in the FIR.

 Munawar Hussain had hurled his shoe on the ousted premier when he came to the rostrum to ddress the gathering. The co-suspects also tried to throw shoes but security personnel had overpowered them. All the three suspects were former students of the Jamia Naeemia, a religious seminary.

 Text Books: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed Punjab government and Punjab Text Book Board to submit replies regarding sale of primary and secondary education’s books in open market allegedly at higher prices.

A divison bench headed by Justice Aminuddin Khan passed the order on petition moved by Advocate Sheraz Zaka.

The petitioner said the books of primary and secondary education were being sold at higher prices putting an undue burden on the pockets of citizens.  He alleged that the government was giving privilege to its blue-eyed publishers who were printing and selling the books at prices much higher than prescribed. He said procurement rules were also being violated by the government in allocating the task of publishing books among publishers of its own choice. The court put off further hearing until  April 10.

 Ends/