LAHORE  - The Lahore High Court yesterday issued notices to the Punjab government and the Forest department in a petition filed by Punjab Assembly deputy speaker Sher Ali Gorchani seeking direction for deletion of his name from the petition accusing him of possessing forests’ land.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of the LHC passed the order on petition filed by deputy speaker Sher Ali Gorchani and put off further hearing until Feb 13.

In his petition, Gorchani said that his opponent Muhammad Ali Darishk filed petition against him. He said he was politically victimising him just after he defeated his brother in general election. He pleaded the court to order deletion of his name from the petition filed against him for his alleged involvement in forest department.

On previous hearing, Chief Settlement Commissioner Dr Saqib Aziz appeared before the court and other officials of Punjab Revenue Department. They had informed the court that it had recovered 6900 acre land of the forest department from the illegal possession of Gorchani.

They said that the Punjab chief minister would decide the matter of transferring the said land to the forest department or to any other department. However, they assured the court that the rest of land would soon be retrieved from the possession of the respondents.

A PTI MPA Sardar Sardar Ali Raza had filed the petition and pointed out that the deputy speaker in connivance with officials of revenue department grasped the forest land. He alleged that 10,000 land of the department was in the illegal possession of the deputy speaker. He said the respondent started cultivation on the land by cutting the woods. The petitioner prayed to the court to get the forest land recovered from the illegal possession of the deputy speaker.

PAT challenges PLGO: The Pakistan Awami Party (PAT) yesterday challenged the Punjab Local Government (amended) Ordinance 2016 before the Lahore High Court.

PAT secretary information Noorullah Siddiqi filed the petition submitting that that the current LG Ordinance changed method of electing mayors/deputy mayors from “secret ballot” to “show of hand” besides other changes in the relevant law.

The petitioner pointed out that the current law kept the independent candidates under the influence of the ruling party (PML-N) and subjected them to legislative coercion. He submitted that Article 226 of the Constitution suggested secret process of election which negated influence of any individual or party.

The petitioner contended that the method of open division (show of hand) while electing the chairman/mayors was a potentially dangerous method for the independent candidates with weaker limb as opposed to the major political players in higher elections.

The post legislative strategy of the provincial government to manipulate results of the election by substantial changes was highly objectionable, and contrary to the Constitution, said the petitioner.

He requested the court to declare the impugned amendments in the law null and void and bar ECP from conducting the forthcoming elections for the reserved seats as well as mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen, vice chairmen of the district councils under the impugned ordinance.

PAT was the fourth political party after PTI, PPP and PML-Q which had challenged the Local Government (amended) Ordinance 2016.