LAHORE   - The Lahore High Court Tuesday directed the Ministry of Water and Power to submit reply on a petition challenging recent increase in electricity tariff.

Justice Shujaat Ali Kahn of the LHC heard the case. The judge adjourned the further proceedings till three weeks.

The petitioner’s counsel told the judge that electricity tariff had recently been increased under the head of “Fuel Adjustment Surcharge”. He told the court that the government also issue inflated bills to the electricity consumers.

He alleged that the government was fleecing the general public in the name of various taxes rather taking practical steps to provide electricity on cheap rates. The petitioner through his counsel prayed the court to set aside the additional charges under the head of fuel adjustment charges. After hearing the initial arguments, the judge sought reply from the authorities concerned within three weeks.

Court didn’t order news channel’s closure: LHC judge

A five-member larger bench of the Lahore High Court Tuesday directed the anchorperson and producer of a local television channel to appear in person to submit written reply on next hearing (October 24).

The larger bench headed by Justice Syed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi and comprised Justice Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah, Justice SM Kazim Raza Shamsi, Justice M Sohail Iqbal Bhatti and Justice Shahzada Mazhar heard the case.

As the proceedings commenced, ARY News Network owner Salman Iqbal, Anchorperson Mubashar Lucman and Khara Sach producer Rao Qaisar appeared before the bench while Advocate Fawad Ahmad Chaudhary represented them as their counsel in the court.

Pemra Chairman Pervez Rathore also appeared before the bench. The chairman stated that the authority suspended the license of ARY News Network for fifteen days and imposed Rs10 million on it. He said that the network violated the Pemra Ordinance.

Upon which, the court held that no such direction was ever issued to Pemra authorities to cancel the licence or pass any order for closure of the network rather the direction was confined to a particular programme ‘Khara Sach’, containing aspersions against judges of the Superior Courts in particular and judiciary as an institution, which was aired thrice on September 22, 23.

Mubashar Lucman, however, submitted his reply saying that he respected courts and never held any program to malign the courts and the judiciary as an institution. Upon which, the court observed that no body should consider himself above the law and should do his work in obedience to law.

Salman Iqbal pleaded the court that he had traveled from UK to Pakistan to appear before the court in state of emergency just to show his bona fide and respect to the court, though, his son was hospitalised over there in order to undergo expected surgical intervention in near future.

He requested the court to grant him exemption from personal appearance before the court. The accepted his pray and granted him exemption in the case for a period of fortnight.

Representing the respondents, Advocate Fawad Chaudhary pleaded the court to adjourn the proceedings, so he could prepare his brief and submit reply as per notices issued earlier. As this, the bench adjourned the proceedings until October 24. Earlier, the division bench of the LHC headed by Justice Mazahar took suo moto notice and issued bail-able arrest warrants for Salman Iqbal, Mubashar Lucman, producer of Khara Sach.