LAHORE – A Lahore High Court Amicus Curia on Friday suggested the federal government should not provide legal assistance to Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to defend him before a US court moved by relatives of Americans killed in the Mumbai attacks.

When Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing on Hafiz Saeed’s petition seeking directions to government to defend him being a citizen of Pakistan before a US Court, Amicus Curie Ahmar Bilal Sufi appeared before the court and advanced arguments.

In his arguments, he said the United Nations had unanimously approved a resolution against terrorism and being member Pakistan was bound to obey this resolution.

He pointed out that India had tried to link Pakistan and Qaeda and filed a suit in the US court involving Pak land into terrorism. The Indian case would be stronger if the government provided lawyers to Hafiz Saeed, Ahmer argued. At this, the court observed that the government should take up the matter at international forums and prove that Pakistan did not involve in terrorism.

“The government should highlight this view that Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and fighting against it,” the court observed.

The chief justice asked AK Dogar, counsel for Hafiz Saeed, to prove his case under the international laws on next date of hearing. The court will take up the matter on March 07.

US nationals Rabbi Gabriel Noah Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were killed in Mumbai attacks. Their son Moshe survived in the attack and he along with other persons moved a US court against Hafiz Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Azam Cheema and Sajid Majid ISI’s Nadeem Taj and Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and another two people.

Vehari by-poll case:  The LHC directed the Punjab chief election commissioner to submit his written statement on a petition challenging by-poll in PP239 of Vehari district scheduled on February 18.

When Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing on the petitioner, provincial election commissioner S.M.Tariq Qadri appeared before the court. He said ECP was going to hold the by-election by taking into consideration the fact that the constitution did not envisage by-polls if a vacancy in an assembly occurs 119-days or less before expiry of its term. The seat falls vacant on November 27, 2012 due to demise of MPA Sardar Muhammad Khan Khichi.

The court directed the provincial election commissioner to file his written statement on February 11, next date of hearing.

Deputy Attorney General Nasim Kashmiri appeared on behalf of federal government.

During last hearing he had submitted that the people of any constituency could not be deprived from their right of representation where there would be matter of constitutional amendment.

Muhammad Ashfaq, resident of the constituency, submitted in the petition that ECP had issued a notification for holding by-polls in the electorate on February 18. While, under Article 224(4) of the constitution the by-polls could not be held before 90 days of the general election, they pointed out.

The ECP notification was a violation of constitution because the present government was going the complete its constitutional tenure after 40 days, the court heard.

He pointed out that sixty days were necessary as per the constitution for holding of any by-polls in any constituency.

They requested the court to set aside the notification by declaring it unconstitutional.

PLEA AGAINST UJAALA: The Lahore High Court on Friday sought reply from provincial government on a petition challenging the ‘Ujaala’ program started by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Shairf to facilitate low income people with Solar Home Solution (SHS) systems against prolong electricity load-shedding.

Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan passed the order on the petition moved by Mian Daud, a local citizen.

The petitioner submitted that Punjab government had started SHS system in order to give benefit to certain groups of society on political basis while no long term steps were being taken to curb load-shedding for all residents of the province.

It was discrimination by the Punjab government to give benefit to selected people of the province and ignore others who were also suffering due to acute electricity shortage, the petitioner added.

He pointed out the government was using the SHS system to get votes in upcoming general elections while the project was also a violation of fundamental rights of the citizens.

He said billions of rupees were being spent on certain people and it was tantamount to increase additional burden provincial exchequer.

He requested the court to immediately stop the project and put ban on it permanently.

The court heard initial arguments and sought reply from provincial government till February 12.