LAHORE - Justice Abadur Rehman Lodhi of the Lahore High Court on Monday stopped Additional Advocate General (AAG) Khawar Ikram Bhatti, who had slapped a police officer outside a NAB court in Rawalpindi, from appearing in his court as a law officer.

Bhatti appeared in the court to plead a case as the Punjab advocate general had assigned him the duty to represent the government in the court of Justice Lodhi. However, after Bhatti’s pictures of slapping a police officer went viral, Justice Lodhi restrained him from performing duties in his court. Bhatti had gone to Rawalpindi on the eve of hearing of a case against Mariyam Nawaz in a NAB court.

Justice Lodhi barred Bhatti from working in his court, saying that it was against the dignity of a law officer to slap a police officer. Law officers are employees of the state, not any political party, he added.

Justice Lodhi also directed the advocate general’s office to appoint a professional and non-political law officer in his court.

According to a notification issued by the Punjab Law Department, Additional Advocate General Khawar Ikram Bhatti has been removed from the service. The notification signed by a section officer reads, “The competent authority is pleased to dispense with the services of Khawar Ikram Bhatti, additional advocate general of Punjab, with immediate effect.”  Besides, the Punjab government on Monday challenged suo motu powers of the Lahore High Court in the Punjab Saaf Pani Company case. The application was fixed before Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi for Monday but it was adjourned for some other day. The Punjab government says the petition is not maintainable, while the Lahore High Court has summoned record of all public sector companies, which has not been sought in the petition in question. The government prayed to the court to set aside the petition. On the other hand, the main case would be taken up on Oct 18.

Punjabi as compulsory subject

Justice Ayesha A Malik of the Lahore High Court on Monday reserved judgement on a petition seeking directives for the Punjab government to make Punjabi language a compulsory subject for students from grade 1 to 5 in schools.

The Punjabi Adabi Board had moved the petition, saying that Punjabi was the mother tongue of people of Punjab and it would be easy for students of this province to understand it but Punjabi had forcibly been kept away from schools and even from fields of science and technology. The board stated that for Punjabis their mother tongue was critical to their self-esteem, identity, creativity and human development.  The counsel for the board argued that Urdu was to become official language in 1988 as per the Constitution of 1973 but it did not. Even the recent judgement of the Supreme Court to make Urdu an official language and teach it as a regional language was not implemented, the counsel said. He asked the court to order the authorities to make Punjabi a compulsory part of the curriculum for school students from grade 1 to 5.

notice to PIA authorities

The Lahore High Court on Monday issued a notice to Pakistan International Airlines officials on a petition challenging alleged illegal appointments and irregularities in the airlines.

Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi passed the order on a petition moved by PIA legal member Nasir Mir. The petitioner said that a number of illegal appointments were made to the airlines and discrimination was on its peak as many officers were being paid in millions while others were being given a very low salary package. He alleged that many favourite people were hired against high salary packages and thus the whole institution was leading to destruction. He asked the court to set aside the appointments to the PIA.

Election Reform, 2017: The LHC asked the petitioners’ counsels to come up with reply if a similar matter was being heard by the Supreme Court. The hearing was adjourned for further proceedings.