LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday overruled objection of the registrar office on a petition challenging Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s personal media promotion and foreign visits on public money, and admitted for preliminary hearing.

Earlier, the office had objection to the petition holding that it was not maintainable.

Barrister Syed Javed Iqbal Jafree had filed the petition and submitted that the PM was getting medical treatment on public money in foreign countries, doing personal promotion on media as well as doing foreign visits. The petitioner stated that the country was sinking in foreign debt. The PM could not establish such hospital where a common man could get proper medication, the counsel said. He said PM and his family doing lavish foreign tours but the common man in the country could not afford one time meal. He questioned PM’s advertisement on media.

Meanwhile, an application was filed before the Lahore High court seeking directions for National Accountability Bureau to hold inquiry of offshore companies/business owned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

Munir Ahmad, a citizen, filed the application in a pending petition on the matter of Panama leaks, through Advocate Azhar Siddique.  The applicant submitted that  the NAB should be ordered to probe into the allegations since the Chief Justice of Pakistan already refused to constitute judicial commission without a consensus between government and the opposition on ToRs (terms of references).

He also submitted that the matter was sensitive and needs to be investigated without any delay as allegations of establishing offshore companies brought a bad name to the country. He prayed to the court to direct the NAB chairman to initiate an inquiry into the matter.

 Duty on imported goods:  The Lahore High Court yesterday barred custom officials in Lahore from charging duty on master airway bill on imported goods from Karachi observing that they have no jurisdiction to issue circular against standard practice of valuation which is determined by the federal government.

The Court expressed serious concerns over the misuse of power by custom collector and other officials of the department concerned on an appeal filed by Zain Enterprises.  A division bench of the LHC headed by Justice Shahid Jamil passed the order.

The petitioner company through its counsel Advocate Sheraz Zaka had submitted that they were paying three times more duty on imported goods to the custom officials. This duty was being charged on master airway bill, he said. The counsel argued that valuation should have taken place on house airway bill in accordance with law but the custom collector was evaluating the imported goods on master airway bill.

He said the custom collector in Lahore was abusing his powers and evaluating the imports on master airway bill which is contrary to established practice. At this, the court showed disappointment on the exercise of powers by the custom collector in an arbitrary manner. The Court directed custom collector and custom intelligence inspector general not to take any coercive measure against the importers till the final decision to be given by director general valuation within thirty days from the date of the receipt of the order of the court.  The court disposed off the appeal.