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January 12, 2018

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Tell ‘Baba Rehmatay’ only the truth: CJP

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the Sharif family’s request for lifting the ban on their sugar mills, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday said everything will be satisfactory if ‘Baba Rehmatay’ was told the truth.

The chief justice passed these remarks when a three-member bench resumed hearing of an appeal filed by the sugar farmers’ body — CPLA — against the Lahore High Court’s verdict declaring the relocation of Sharif family’s three sugar mills to southern Punjab illegal.

Mian Saqib Nisar said he would be a weak chief justice if he did not keep his eyes and ears open to the situation in and outside the court. The chief justice said he had pictures with him showing whom the sugarcane growers had met in Lahore. He said the farmers’ interest was dear to the apex court.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and Jamaludin Wali (JDW) Sugar Mills owner Jehangir Tareen, along with four sugar mills owners, expressed his willingness to purchase the harvested sugarcane from all the farmers affected by the closure of the Sharif family sugar mills.

In pursuance of the court’s direction, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for Jehangir Tareen, gave an undertaking before the court that his client along with the owners of Hamza, Ashraf, RYK and Indus sugar mills was ready to buy the harvested sugarcane from the growers at the rate fixed by the government.

The court on Wednesday had asked Aitzaz Ahsan to come up with a viable proposal on Thursday regarding the purchase of sugarcane from the growers in the vicinity otherwise the court may accept the farmers’ plea.

The Pakistan Kissan Ittehad had filed a Civil Petition for Leave to Appeal (CPLA) through the Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon challenging the LHC verdict which in September last year declared the relocation of Sharif family’s three sugar mills as illegal.

It pleaded for granting leave to appeal and prayed for suspending the operation of the LHC verdict. The mills affected by the LHC decision included the Chaudhry Sugar Mills, Ittefaq Sugar Mills, Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills and Abdullah Sugar Mills.

Ahsen Bhoon, representing the farmers, questioned as to how the JWD and other sugar mill owners would purchase sugarcane from all the farmers. The chief justice, however, said that they will monitor and supervise the process and if there arose any complaint, then it will be taken up in the chamber and appropriate orders will be passed.

The chief justice asked Jehangir Tareen, who was present in the courtroom, to ensure that no farmer suffered loss.Meantime, another farmer came to the rostrum saying that they will die if the harvested sugarcane was not purchased.

The chief justice observed that they have provided relief to growers and protected their rights, hence they should avoid raising objections and becoming mouthpiece of someone. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until February 18.

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