LAHORE -  The Lahore High Court on Thursday restrained the ministry of religious affairs from holding 50 percent balloting of the entire haj quota due on Jan 26 (today), and ordered it to keep rest of the 50 per cent open till disposal of the petition against the policy.

Justice Shahid Karim passed the order on petition moved by Travel Channel International, a private hajj tour operator.

The petitioner’s counsel Advocate Azhar Siddique argued that haj quota for private tour operators had drastically reduced. He said balloting for haj quota was due on January 26 (today). He said if the haj policy was passed there would be troubles for the next government to get it implemented.

The petitioner said that the policy which being formulated for 2018 was not in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment and lacked the required transparency. He pleaded the court to stop the ministry from balloting.

A law officer representing the ministry presented haj policy plan before the court but could not satisfy the court that whether the committee made to formulate the policy was consulted or not. The law officer opposed the contention of the petitioner’s counsel.

However, the judge, after hearing both sides, barred the ministry from balloting 50 per cent quota of the entire haj quota and to keep open the rest of 50 per cent quota till the further orders on the petition.

Court moved against Sheikh Rasheed

A writ petition was filed in the Lahore High Court on Thursday seeking disqualification of Awami Tehreek chief Sheikh Rasheed for backing off his announcement of resignation from the national assembly seat.

Mirza Muhammad Sadiq, a citizen, moved the petition, submitting that Sheikh Rasheed announced in a public gathering that he would step down, but backed off.

The petitioner alleged that Sheikh Rasheed lied to the public. Thus, he said Sheikh Rasheed had committed violation of the constitution and was no more ‘Sadiq’. He asked the court to declare him ineligible to hold the public office.

Addressing the PAT protesters on The Mall on January 17, Sheikh Rasheed cursed the parliament, drawing ire among the parliamentarians over use of derogatory words against the public office. PTI chief Imran Khan too used the same word. Both the leaders also announced their resignation from the parliament..

Reportedly, the National Assembly had also adopted a resolution condemning Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Muslim Legaue chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed for publicly cursing the parliament. The resolution followed fiery  speeches from both treasury and opposition benches  with defence Minister Khawaja Muhamamd Asif and Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah highlighting  the achievements made by the parliament.

Imran Khan defended  his harsh criticism of the parliament at a Pakistan Awami Tehreek rally, and said in a  tweet, “When a Parliament, which must protect nation's interests, passes a person-specific law allowing a disqualified person guilty of Rs 3 bn money laundering, tax evasion, concealment of assets, forgery & perjury to become head of a pol party, then such a law is a "laanath" on Parlliament.”

 

He said he challenges anyone who disagrees with his stance to hold a public poll on what people think of the parliament

 

 

Fida HUSSNAIN