LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Wednesday summoned a senior officer of the privatisation commission, showing its concern over non-submission of reply about Allama Iqbal International Airport in a petition challenging outsourcing of three main airports of the country.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah took up the matter and directed the commission to submit reply on the next hearing.

During the hearing, Ahmad Bilal Sufi advocate sought more time for submission of the commission’s reply regarding outsourcing of Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport. He said the reply had been drafted but commission’s secretary was yet to sign it.

At this, the chief Justice expressed concern and remarked that if the secretary could sign on salaries of the staff then why not on the reply.

The petitioners’ counsel alleged that the government had not stopped the process of outsourcing the airport’s control despite stay order issued by the court.

CJ Shah had on May 30 stayed the process of outsourcing management control of Lahore airport and directed the government to explain as to how national security would be ensured after handing over control of the airport to a foreign company. Former federal minister and founding member of PPP, Dr Mubashir Hassan, the employees of Civil Aviation Authority, and others had moved the petitions. Arguing before the court, the counsel said that law of the civil aviation authority did not allow privatisation or outsourcing of airports for being sensitive premises. They said the outsourcing of the airports could create risk for national security.

The petitoners requested the court to bar the government authorities from outsourcing of the airports. The court adjourned the hearing until July 26.


Nadra gets 2 months time from court

The LHC on Wednesday allowed two-month time to the National Database & Registration Authority chairman to clarify rules for appointment of the authority’s board’s members.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah also questioned interference of Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan in Nadra affairs as the petitioners’ counsel pointed out that the minister had been chairing meeting of the board in violation of rules. Eight members of the Nadra board had challenged their appointments.

Ahmad Pansota, the petitioners’ counsel, contended that the board’s members did not qualify the criteria mentioned in the rules. He submitted that some of the members were overage while some were the government servants.

According to the counsel, the rules did not allow any government servant to become member of the Nadra board.

At the outset of hearing, Nadra Chairman Usman Yousaf appeared before the court along with Babar Sattar advocate. He defended the appointments of the board’s members saying that all the members had been appointed on merit and in a transparent manner. He stated that the members of the board received no remuneration against their services.

The Nadra chairman asked for some time to make rules clear for appointment of the board’s members.

The court gave him time and adjourned the hearing until Sept 9.