LAHORE - At least 9,476 Pakistanis are rotting in jails of various countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Lahore High Court on Friday.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah was hearing the petition moved by Justice Project Pakistan. A law officer appeared in the court and submitted a report about Pakistanis in foreign jails . He said the government obtained the figures through official correspondence with various countries. The law officer said the government had taken steps to provide legal aid to these citizens. He however pleaded the court to give more time to the consular protection policy.

On this, the chief justice expressed dismay and observed: “The country is waiting for a policy, which could not be delayed further.” The CJ ordered the ministry to submit the report at the next hearing.

Notice to TDA DG in petition against closure of sugar production

The Lahore High Court on Friday issued notices to Trade Development Authority director general on a contempt petition for not complying with an order in which the government officials were restrained from interfering into the functioning of the mills owned by Jahangir Khan Tareen.

Ali Saeed, a manager of the JWD Sugar mills of Jahangir Khan Tareen moved the petition submitting that  the cabinet division issued a notification allowing production of white sugar  and the mills had been producing it for last several years.  But the Trade Development Authority had started interference into the functioning of Tareen’s mills. 

The petitioner said the LHC on March 10 in its order had barred the government from closing his sugar mills.  He prayed the court to restrain the authority from closure of the sugar’s production.

After hearing initial arguments, Justice Ayesha A Malik issued notices to the authority’s DG and sought reply.

Refusal

In another similar matter against closure of sugar mills’ production, Justice Shujat Ali Khan refused hearing of petition moved by JI leader and sent it to the CJ to fix it before any other appropriate bench. JI Punjab Ameer Mian Maqsood Ahmad moved the petition saying that cane season was on but the government had halted crushing for two years. The petitioner stated that the restriction of crushing has been costing farmers. 

Also, the Lahore High Court directed the federal government to assist the court as to how to harmonize rules that prejudice claims of unmarried daughters of their father’s pension from their elder sisters. Zakia Shaukat moved the petition through Advocate Taffazul Haider Rizvi saying that Combined Military Accounts (CMA) Lahore passed recently a decision that her eldest sister cannot surrender her right to the petitioner. 

During the proceedings, controller of the military accounts submitted a report in which the stance of the petitioner lady was accepted. He assured the court that the grievance of the petitioner would be addressed. At this, Justice Shahid Jamil Khan who took up the matter observed that section 8(2)(a) of Civil Servants Family Pension Rules was needed to be rationalized. The judge observed that the Section treats sisters of the same unmarried status differently which is discriminatory and violation of the Constitution.

The judge directed the authorities concerned to process the petitioner’s case by the next hearing with directives to the federal government to assist the court about the law in question. 

The petitioner lady who is daughter Syed Shaukat Hussain , a retired officer of Military Estate Services Department who died in 2015, pleaded the court to redress the plight of all such women who had been denied their right to claim pension of their deceased father. 

She said that she and her eldest sister both entitled to get the pension of their father while her eldest sister out of her love and affection surrendered her right in favour of petitioner (Zakia). She said the office of the commander MES Rawalpindi sent her matter to Lahore.  However, CMA Lahore objected to her claim that elder sister cannot surrender her right in favour of the young sister/petitioner.

She prayed the court to set aside Section 8(2)(a)(iii) of Family Pension for being arbitrary and  contrary to fundamental.

The court adjourned further hearing until Jan 10, 2018.