LAHORE - Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial has remarked that talks between the government and Taliban are a policy matter, so courts cannot interfere in it unless and until there is a violation of fundamental rights and law.

Chief Justice Bandial offered these remarks on Wednesday while hearing a petition seeking the court’s direction to the federal government to hold dialogue with Taliban and allow them to open an office in the country. The chief justice observed that there was a resolution of the all parties’ conference on government-Taliban talks and democratic institutions were there to deal with this matter.

As the counsel for the petitioner insisted for a notice, the CJ asked him to quote any law empowering the court to issue such a direction. However, he could not convince the court. The CJ gave him another chance to convince the court after preparation and put off hearing till November.

Advocate Kashif Mehmood Solomani had filed this petition, requesting the court to direct the federal government to hold dialogue with Taliban after letting them open their office in the country.

He made the federation of Pakistan, the interior ministry, the ministry of defence and the ministry of finance respondents.

The petitioner said surgical strikes against Taliban in Pakistan without dialogue were a blunder, so the respondents may be directed to hold dialogue with Taliban to ensure peace in the country.

He said since 9/11 when Pakistan became an ally of the US in war on terror, Pakistan had suffered economy loss worth $100 billion. “Pakistan also had to face loss of innumerable precious human lives. The country continued to pay a heavy price in terms of both economic and security,” he observed.

The petitioner said a Taliban office would facilitate the dialogue process. He said the national leadership should decide to give dialogue a chance to deal with the issue of Taliban for peace. He said, according to the Charter of the United Nations Organisation, no sanctions could be imposed on Pakistan for dialogue with Taliban.  The petitioner prayed to the court to direct the government to hold talks with the Taliban in the larger national interest.

LHC Bench refuses to hear loan case against Sharif family

A Division Bench of Lahore High Court declined hearing of the Sharif family loan case here on Wednesday.

The bench referred the case to the Chief Justice with request to make another bench for the hearing of this case. 

A Division Bench comprising Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan and Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, was hearing the case of the Sharif family.

Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh declined hearing of the case observing that he had appeared in the court as counsel to Mian Nawaz Sharif 15 years back, therefore, he could not hear the case.

The petition was filed by a consortium of banks for winding up of three units of Ittefaq Group in order to recover about Rs 3 billion loans from the PML-N leaders.

The petitioners including National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Ltd, United Bank Ltd, Zarai Taraqiati Bank of Pakistan, Muslim Commercial Bank, Picic Bank,

First Punjab Mudarba and Corporate Law Authority had moved the petition in 1998.

The petitioners had requested to order for the recovery of their loan through auction of Ittefaq Foundries, Ittefaq Textile Mills and Khalid Siraj Industries as they had failed to fulfil their financial commitments made against loan given to them.

Earlier, the LHC had ordered the sale of these units; however, the decision was challenged by Mian Meraj Din, a shareholder in Ittefaq Group and Nawaz Sharif’s uncle, on the ground that the auction of said units was in violation of Section 284 of the Companies Ordinance.

The four units, including Ittefaq Foundries, Ittefaq Brothers and Brother Steel Mills were handed over by Sharif Family to petitioner-banks to adjust the loan amount, but the banks had rejected and demanded payment in cash.