LAHORE    -   The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday directed the counsel of Pir Afzal Qadri — former leader of Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) who is currently facing a treason case — to submit a detailed apology for incendiary remarks made by him during a protest against the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi.

The cleric was booked under sedition and terrorism charges in Gujrat and taken into “protective custody” by the state during a crackdown in November 2018 after the TLP announced it would observe martyrs’ day on Nov 25, 2018.

During Tuesday’s hearing of a bail plea filed by Qadri and TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi — whose earlier applications were rejected by an anti-terrorism court — Justice Qasim Ali Khan directed his counsel, Hafeezur Rehman Chaudhry, to submit the attested apology letter by Wednesday.

The court rejected the counsel’s plea to not highlight the apology letter and directed the counsel to read it out in the court.

The counsel then read out the apology, after which the court directed him to define the “harsh words” used in the apology letter. The counsel said that according to the record, Qadri had said that the three judges [who acquitted Aasia Bibi] were liable to be killed, that Prime Minister Imran Khan is a Zionist agent and that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Javed Qamar Bajwa’s orders be not accepted.

Justice Khan observed that the comments were incitement to violence. “Saying such things about army generals — what is it if not treason?” the judge asked.

The lawyer said that Qadri had apologised in his letter, but Justice Asjad Javed Ghural pointed out that “he had declared that the judges of the higher judiciary deserve to be killed”.

“Pir Afzal Qadri should have sought apology over the labels uttered against judges and generals,” added Justice Khan.

UNPACKAGED MILK CASE

The LHC has ordered the Punjab Food Authority to give its point of view on a petition that it has banned the sale of unpackaged milk.

Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, while hearing the petition, said there was no ban on the sale of unpackaged milk and thus all actions against its sale are illegal, violative of fundamental rights.

The petition seeks quashment of the notification against such milk.

SUGAR MILLS CASE  -  Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills and Abdullah Sugar Mills, both belonging to the Sharif family, have moved a petition against the NAB to seek annulment of the inquiry against them.

The LHC has summoned the inquiry for the next date. The petitioners claim that the case is of civil nature and the NAB has no power to take it up.

Also, they said their women have appeared before the NAB along with the record seven times. Another court has summoned the inquiry officer in Ramazan Sugar Mills for next month, extending stay against the NAB action.