Lahore    -  A two-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will take up for hearing various cases mostly of public importance at the Lahore Registry today.

The bench will hear the matters, among others of slow pace of pending inquiries relating to fake bank accounts; alleged illegal encroachments over the properties belonging to Hindu community in Sindh; re-verification of degrees of the pilots and cabin-crew; murder of a journalist in Sambrial; and illegal and unlawful occupation of property by PML-N MNA Afzal Khokhar and MPA Saiful Malook Khokhar.

The apex court has been informed by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) tasked with probing fake bank accounts that transactions of Rs54 billion were made through 107 fake bank accounts. The JIT which submitted a progress report in the court had been investigating a 2015 case regarding fake accounts and fictitious transactions conducted through ‘benami’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and UBL.

In the case, seven people, including PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur are accused of being involved in using those accounts for suspicious transactions. Hearing a suo motu case about delay in the FIA probe into the fake account case, the apex court had constituted the JIT to probe the accounts allegedly used to channel funds received through bribes.

Likewise, the bench will also take up the suo motu case of alleged illegal encroachments on properties owned by the Hindu community in Sindh.

The chief justice had taken notice of the matter on a video released by Bhagwan Devi, a retired professor. In the video, she claimed that the Hindu community was the victim of “the worst lawlessness and mismanagement” in the province, that has been ruled by the PPP for a long time.

She alleged that the land grabbers were illegally taking possession of properties owned by Hindus in Sindh, especially Larkana, on the basis of “false power of attorney”. She said that affected people were being threatened with dire consequences in case of raising voice against the illegal and inhuman practice.

Another important case to be heard by the apex court at the Lahore Registry is the poor performance of the Civil Aviation Authority and Pakistan International Airlines for not taking effective measures to verify degrees of pilots and other employees.

Earlier, the court had expressed displeasure over the negligence on part of PIA and CAA officials concerned. The court had also remarked that no concrete steps had been taken for verification of degrees of the staff.

On December 7, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had heard the case and issued a written order for re-verification of degrees of the pilots, cabin-crew and employees of CAA.

The bench had summoned the PIA, CAA and all degree verifying institutions’ heads to appear in-person before the court.

Notices were issued to attorney general for Pakistan, the advocates general of all provinces, the chairman of Higher Education Commission, vice chancellors and chairpersons of universities as well as boards, the CAA director general, Higher Education Commissions’ provincial chairmen and others.

The apex court will take up the case of slain journalist Zeeshan Butt, who was murdered in Sumbrial by a politically influential person and union council chairman Imran Cheema.

The correspondent of daily Nawa-i-Waqt was killed in March 2017 while he was working on a story about imposition of a tax on local shopkeepers by the union council.

The apex court will also hear a case against PML-N MNA Afzal Khokhar and MPA Saiful Mulook Khokhar over complaints regarding their involvement in land grabbing.

On the last hearing day, the chief justice had ordered Punjab police and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to establish a complaint centre to probe the land grabbing complaints against the duo. The judge had also ordered to put their names on the exit control list (ECL).

A complaint was made by overseas Pakistanis accusing the PML-N lawmakers of illegally grabbing their land in the country while the court had ordered them to submit details of all assets in their as well as their families members’ names.

Besides, a matter relating to misuse of Pakistan Railways’ land across the country will also be heard by the SC bench which had summoned Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed for today.

Various petitions had been filed by citizens against construction of private housing schemes on Railway property. The petitions are related to the land sold by Pakistan Railways and construction of housing societies on its land.