LAHORE - The Punjab government has decided not to celebrate Basant this year, Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan said here on Wednesday.

The Lahore High Court will be apprised of this decision on Thursday. The court is hearing petitions against the earlier decision of celebrating the festival, which causes deaths almost every time the fans go for it. 

The minister said the festival could be celebrated in future after proper preparations and legislation.

“We need four to six months of working to make Basant a safe festival,” he said, adding such festivities could be allowed given all government agencies did their job. The minister said there should be strong laws against the use of glass-coated strings. The move was challenged by citizens in the Lahore High Court.  The ban on Basant was imposed by the Supreme Court in 2007 after deaths of several people due to kite’s strings.

LHC rejects appeal for

Aleem’s disqualification

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday dismissed as in admissible a petition seeking the disqualification of senior minister Aleem Khan. Punjab Assembly The petition was filed by Rana Ahsan of the PML-N, who had lost the election for PP-158 last year. He accused the minister of hiding assets and urged the court to disqualify him under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

It was alleged that the minister owed Rs 9.3 million to the Old Age Benefit Scheme and that a number of inquiries were being conducted against him by the NAB and FIA.  The petitioner also alleged that Mr Khan had illegally grabbed about 800 acres of land. The minister’s lawyer denied all charges and sought dismissal of the petition.

LHC order deciding small crimes cases in 3 months

The LHC chief justice on Wednesday ordered the relevant authorities to decide all small crime pending cases in three months i.e. by April 30.

It is said that 7,475 such cases are pending with the district judiciary.

District courts of Jhelum, Sheikhupura and Rajanpur have already decided cases filed till Sept 10, an action appreciated by the chief justice.

Qaiser Amin becomes

approver, gets bail

Qaiser Amin Butt, a business partner of former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq has become approver against Saad in Paragon housing case after which a two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court ordered his release on bail on Wednesday.

Mr Butt’s counsel informed the court that even the NAB chairman has accepted his client’s status. The NAB, he said, had also completed its investigations against Me Butt.

The court was also informed that Mr Butt had given the NAB the necessary information.

At present, the lawyer said, Mr Butt was ill and lying in jail.  The NAB, he said, would have no objection if his client was allowed bail.

Abbasi challenges

conviction in LHC

PML-N leader Haneef Abbasi of Rawalpindi has challenged in high court his conviction in the ephedrine case, after which the court has issued notices to the relevant parties. The appellant said that the trial court’s verdict was contrary to the facts.

The court will now take up the appeal on January 31.