LAHORE - The Lahore High Court Tuesday stayed privatisation of Lahore airport with directions to federal government, cabinet Secretary and Civil Aviation Authority to come up with reply about outsourcing the management control of three airports of the country.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah passed the order while hearing various petitions filed by CAA employees, founder secretary of Pakistan Peoples’ Party and ex-federal minister Dr Mubashar Hassan.

Previously, Deputy Director (Legal) Farooq Afzal appeared on behalf of CAA and said that the matter of privatisation of three airports had been postponed till June 3, requesting for more time for detailed report on it.

During the proceedings, the CJ asked the government officials to explain as to how the security of the country would be ensured after privatisation of three airports including Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. The CJ also ordered for submission of recording for privatisation of airports.

Advocate Aamir Saeed Rawn, counsel for the petitioner, argued that the CAA had given management control of country’s three airports including Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. By doing this, the authority had breached the national security as the airports are the sensitive places, he said.

“The management control of these airports cannot be given to any foreign company. Pakistan Air Force also uses the runways and radar system of these airports and if these are given to any foreign company or privatised then it would risk the national security,” the counsel added.

He further told the court that these airports are used for emergency landing or passenger and air force planes during any untoward situation or war situation.

He requested to declare this action as illegal and also order to give, if desired, airports management control of these airports to some local companies.

At this, the counsel for the federal government and CAA said the project for outsourcing the management control of these airports had been held by the government.

The petitioner, however, pointed out that the respondents were misleading the court as the government was secretly completing the process of outsourcing these airports, so that later it could tell the court that the process of privatisation had been completed and that now nothing could be done.

The chief justice directed the federal government, cabinet secretary and CAA to come up with the reply and put off further proceedings for four weeks.

Industries ministry to

decide on Tareen’s sugar mills

The Lahore High Court Tuesday directed the Industries ministry to decide in accordance with law the representation filed by Haseeb Waqar Sugar Mills against five sugar mills including JDW sugar mills owned by PTI’s leader Jahangir Khan Tareen.

Justice Ayesha A Malik passed the order on petition filed by Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills seeking action against five sugar mills including JDW Sugar Mills, Rahim Yar Khan Sugar Mills, Hamza Sugar Mills, Ashraf Sugar Mills and Fatima Sugar Mills.

During the proceedings, Assistant Advocate General Faisal M Buttar appeared before the court on behalf of the Punjab government and submitted that the petition against illegal enhancement/expansion of crushing capacities in sugar mills was pending before the Industries secretary since April 19, 2017 without any progress. He said he would be satisfied if a direction was given to Secretary Industries to decide the pending representation of Haseeb Waqas Sugar mills.

The judge observed that the request of the counsel was tenable, which has not been opposed by deputy attorney general. The judge directed the industries secretary to decide the representation of the Haseeb Waqas Sugar mills in accordance with law within a month after hearing all parties.

Justice Malik also directed the ministry to submit compliance report to deputy registrar (judicial).

Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills, through its counsel Ali Sibtain Fazli, had submitted to the court that it had filed representation before the secretary to take action against the above said sugar mills. The petitioner said that these mills violated the ban imposed by the government in 2006 in which the enhancement of mills and their shifting was barred. But these mills, the petitioner held, did not bother to consider the ban and did shifting and established new mills.

The Industries secretary was pleaded to take action against them but still no action was taken which showed that the authorities concerned did not fulfil their duties, the petitioner maintained.

The petitioner’s counsel asked the court to order the ministry, secretary concerned, Rahim Yar Khan DCO, DPO to take action against the sugar mills and stop their operation for violating the law. The petition was disposed of.