LAHORE - The Lahore High Court has sought arguments from the government for keeping the agreement of Orange Line Metro Train Project with China as ‘secret document’.

As the proceedings commenced yesterday, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf and Advocate General Punjab Shakilur Rehman appeared in the court and pleaded the bench for more time for their preparation for further arguments.

A division bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh adjourned further hearing for Tuesday (today).

Petitioner counsel Advocate Azhar Siddique submitted that one of the petitioners Dr Ijaz Anwar had been harassed by police at the government’s behest. The bench directed the Advocate General to look into matter and ensure protection of the petitioner.

The bench further asked the law officer to submit the details of an alleged suicide by a man over delay in compensation against the land acquired for Orange Line.

The court had stayed construction of the project at eleven points on different petitions terming the project “a threat to cultural landscape of the city”.

PU’s ILLEGAL AFFAIRS: Meanwhile, the LHC issued notices to Pakistan Bar Council, Punjab Bar Council, Higher Education Commission and others on a petition challenging authority of Punjab University to recognise degrees of law graduates. Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh issued notices to the respondents and adjourned hearing for June 20.

A young lawyer had filed the petition through Advocate Sheraz Zaka and submitted after the formation of Legal Education Rules 2015, the sole authority to recognise degrees vested with HEC and Pakistan Bar Council regarding recognition of LLB degrees. And other than LLB degrees, the sole authority to issue equivalence was vested with HEC under section 10 of Higher Education Commission Ordinance, the counsel said.

He argued that the Punjab University had been acting beyond its powers and extorting money from students in the name of issuance of equivalence certificates for admission in masters programmes, which was unjust enrichment as the sole authority was vested with HEC and in case of law degrees Pakistan Bar Council had the authority.

He prayed to the court to declare the act of the PU illegal and restrain it from further extorting students in the name of degrees’ recognition.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court yesterday asked the Punjab Advocate General to assist the court in a petition filed by a woman against her father who is allegedly involved in convergence of religions.

Aneela Saleem, a local resident, filed the petition through her counsel Advocate Aftab Bajwa and said that her father Saleem Nazeer left Christianity and embraced Islam. She said he also made a woman namely Razia Bibi to embrace Islam and married her. When she died he buried her in accordance with the customs of Christianity and married again with a Christian woman but made her convert to Islam and now was claiming himself as Christian, said the petitioner.

She pleaded the court to lodge FIR against her father for his convergence of different religions. At this, Justice Syed Kazim Raza Shamsi observed that convergence in Islam is totally forbidden and if someone does it he is sentenced to death. However, the court sought assistance from the Advocate General Punjab to know what the state laws say about it. The court adjourned further hearing until May 25.

Meanwhile, the LHC expressed dismay over non-submission of reply by the federal and provincial governments in a petition challenging appointment of Mukhtar Ahmad as Chairman of High Education Commission (HEC). The court issued notices to federal, provincial government and HEC and sought replies.

Qaisar Rasheed, a local resident, had filed the petition and stated that Mukhtar Ahmad was appointed as HEC Chairman in violation of merit as he did not have required qualification and experience.

The petitioner alleged that MPhil and PhD degrees of the respondent were also needed to be verified. He said he was appointed purely on political grounds and his matter be referred to NAB for investigation. On previous hearing, the court sought replies from the federal, provincial governments and HEC.