LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday restrained shifting of five sugar mills owned by close relatives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from the existing sites to others declaring the act illegal.

Justice Ayesha A Malik, while hearing a petition, also set aside two notifications earlier issued by industries secretary on December 4, last year, to allow transfer of M/s Chaudhry Sugar Mills, M/s Ittefaq Sugar Mills, Sahiwal, M/s Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills, Nankana Sahib, M/s Abdullah (Yousaf) Sugar Mills, Sargodha, and M/s Abdullah Sugar Mills, Depalpur to other districts.

M/s JDW Sugar Mills, owned by PTI leader Jahangir Tareen Khan, and others had moved the petitions against shifting of the said mills.

The petitioners inter alia stated the impugned notifications were issued with malafide intention and as favour to facilitate the desired relocation of these mills.

They said under section 3 of Punjab Industries (Control on Establishment and Enlargement) Ordinance, there was a restriction on establishing industrial concern without prior permission from the provincial government. They also referred to various notifications issued under the said section, imposing restriction on establishment of new sugar mills in Punjab. They contended that it has been consistent position of the government that relocation amounts to establishing of a new industrial undertaking.

The provincial government’s lawyer contended that there was a dire need to allow sugar mills to relocate in view of change in the cropping pattern and improved environmental conditions. He argued that relocation did not enhance overall sugar production capacity as such there was no violation of the ban or damage to national interest in relocation.

The counsel further argued that the policy aimed to allow relocation to protect the sugar industry.

Announcing a reserved verdict, the judge restrained the respondent sugar mills from carrying out the business of sugar mills in their relocated premises and asked the government to take necessary action against the mills being established at new set-up without seeking prior permission from the competent authority.

Court moved to shift honour killing trial

The spouse of Samyia Shahid, a Pakistan based British citizen, who was raped and killed in the name of honor, has moved the Lahore High Court to seek transfer of her murder trial from Jehlum to Lahore for the safety of witnesses and himself as they were receiving threats from the accused party.

Syed Mukhtar Kazam, complainant of murder case and Samyia’s husband, through Advocate Malik Awais Khalid submitted that he himself and other witnesses in the trial have serious life threats at the hands of the accused relatives of Samyia. He said they were highly influential and dominant in the locality and constantly extending life threats; thus he had to leave Pakistan.

The Joint Investigation Team, in the matter, also had recommended the case be transferred to Lahore, he said in an application.

The JIT had recommended that it is a case of honor killing and the government should direct the prosecution department to closely monitor the same. The team also recommended that the case be shifted to Lahore.

Justice Abdul Sami Khan yesterday heard the mater as an objection. The court overruled the objection and referred the matter to the Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah for placing it before any appropriate bench for hearing.