LAHORE - An important petition against raise in the fee of medical colleges was filed before the Lahore High Court last week.

Aqsa Komal, a third-year student at Nishtar Medical College, Multan, filed the petition. She said 76 seats had been reserved for overseas students at 14 public sector medical colleges of the province. She said an overseas student was required to pay 87000 US dollars annually under self finance scheme. 

She stated that all the medical colleges doubled the fee for the overseas students following a health department’s notification issued recently. She said the students were being threatened of cancelation of their admissions in case of non deposit of the increased fee. 

The petitioner said the students paid fee as mentioned in the prospectus issued by the colleges at the time of admissions. She said the act of increasing fee during the academic session was illegal.  She requested the court to set aside the notification of the health department for being illegal and restrain the medical colleges from demanding students to pay doubled fee.

After hearing initial arguments, the LHC suspended a Punjab health department’s notification and restrained medical colleges of the province from charging increased fee from overseas students. 

The other important case that was taken up by a court was about the alleged embezzlement of Rs 230 million of Punjab Energy Department which was exclusively reported by The Nation on Friday. 

Judicial Magistrate Ashraf Gondal held the proceedings on bail application moved by former Chief Finance Officer of Punjab Energy Department Ikram Naveed.  

During the hearing, the suspect through his counsel Advocate Mushtaq Ahmad Mohl told the judge that Ali Imran, son-in-law and daughter of an important political figure of the province were involved in the scam. 

He told the judge that this huge scam was committed on behest of Imran but, unfortunately, both husband and wife were not nominated in any FIR lodged by Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE). The counsel of the suspect contended that the amount of Rs 30.5 million was recovered from his client and paid pack to the state. 

The suspect was remanded twice to the ACE custody but they could not establish anything and now they were demanding third time the physical remand of the accused which, the counsel said, was unjustified. However, the ACE officials opposed his release on bail saying that he made huge assets and bought shops and flats in Lahore and Islamabad.

They said that the suspect invested money in a tower in Islamabad. The officials also denied involvement of Ali Imran and his wife Fatima Shehbaz.

When officials were countered by the question of Mr Mohl, the counsel of Ikram Naveed, that how they could deny the direct deposit of Rs 120 million into the account of Ali Imran and Fatima Shehbaz, they said that the money deposited in his bank account or in others’ accounts were part of the record.

They requested the judge that they need further remand of Naveed for completion of investigation. After hearing both sides, the judge remanded Naveed into ACE officials’ custody for three days.

Today (Monday) the suspect will be produced before the magistrate. Recovery of Yaqoob Masih, a local Christian leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, from abduction of men of the ruling party (PML-N) was also another important case that was taken by the LHC.

The rescued leader told the court that his family recently joined PTI after leaving the PML-N. He said his former fellows in the PML-N nurtured grudge against him and abducted him to avenge the ‘betrayal’. He alleged that personnel of Sought Cantonment police station and CIA Ghaziabad kidnapped him at the behest of Waqar Hussain, Umar Batalvi and Ashraf Masih, PML-N’s workers from the constituency.

Masih alleged that he had been tortured and humiliated during the captivity. He further alleged that the kidnappers used to demand ransom and his property’s documents for the release. Counsel of petitioner Haroon Masih, Advocate Shabbir Bokhari told the court that a case of the abduction was already registered against the suspects and two of them were also in police custody.

The lawyer alleged that the Cantonment SP had been backing the suspects. The police officer, however, denied the allegations.  Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan ordered the police to release Yaqoob Masih and also cautioned it not to harass the petitioner and his family.

The Lahore High Court also took up a petition seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for  his alleged involvement in offshore companies/business.  Justice Shahid Waheed of LHC issued notice to election commission of Pakistan (ECP).  

Iqtidar Haider, a local resident, filed the petition and stated that he had already moved an application to the ECP to declare PM disqualified to be elected as national assembly member but since long the commission had not decided the matter. He said that PM did not qualify under articles 62 and 63 and such could not participate in the election. He claimed that the Panama documents had proved his claimed but the ECP was not inclined to decide his application. He requested to issue directions to the ECP to hold Nawaz Sharif disqualifed to hold any public office.

The LHC gave another chance to the Federal government and other respondents to submit reply in a petition challenging ban on exhibition on film ‘Maalik’.  Law officers on behalf of federal government and Punjab government sought time for filing replies.   Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf and opposition leader in Punjab assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed and an advocate Munir Ahmad moved these petitions. 

The LHC also issued notice and sought replies from the secretary finance and secretary religious affairs, Punjab in a petition seeking directions to the give funds quota to minorities  members of Punjab Assembly.  

The  LHC also  sought replies from Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Ministry of Sports by May 26. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of the LHC heard the case. 

A citizen filed the petition through Advocate Abdul Ghafoor contending that the appointments of chief operating officer, manager international audit, director securities and other others were made on the basis of nepotism as the posts were never advertised.

The counsel argued that the PCB authorities ignored rules and merits in the appointments process. He prayed to the court to set aside all the impugned appointments and order the PCB to fill the vacancies strictly in accordance with law. 

At lower court, an accountability court extended physical remand of former managing director of Pepco Tahir Basharat Cheema in case of alleged corruption and illegal recruitments. The NAB officials produced Mr Cheema before the court and said further custody of the suspect was required for completion of the investigation.