LAHORE: The Punjab government on Wednesday told the Lahore High Court that the Supreme Court had taken notice of sugar mills’ closure during the crushing season.

Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi was hearing the petition moved by Mian Maqsood Ahmad of Jamaat-i-Islami against closure of mills during the crushing season in the province.  A Punjab government official appeared in the court and said the matter had now been taken up by the Supreme Court, so the high court could not hear it.

Earlier, Justice Sethi snubbed an assistant cane commissioner for not taking action against sugar mill owners for suspending crushing and causing millions of rupees loss to farmers. The judge had directed the government to ensure resumption of crushing by sugar mills and payment of Rs180 per kg of sugarcane to farmers.

The petitioner had told the court that the government could not get the sugar mills open in the province and farmers had been suffering from closure of the mills. He stated that a Rs40 billion loss was feared to southern Punjab due to suspension of crushing by sugar mills.

In another case against the political parties, which failed to submit asset details, the LHC sought reply from the parties and ECP and adjourned the hearing until February 20.  Hearing a case against non-payment of pension to eight retired judges, the LHC chief justice summoned the AGP and provincial secretary of law to submit their replies.  Taking up 56 companies case, the LHC expressed dismay at non-submission of replies and gave last chance to the Punjab government to submit replies. The court also sought replies from the Punjab government and NAB on a petition seeking details of funds and cost of Orange Line Metro Train Project.  On Wednesday, the LHCBA office bearers joined the protest staged by the political parties on The Mall and demanded justice for the victims of Model Town incident. The lawyers expressed anger over non-provision of justice to victims.  “Model Town victims must be dispensed justice,” said Aamir Saeed Rawn, the bar secretary. He said, “We’ll sit here till dispensation of justice to victims of Model Town incident.” –Staff Reporter