ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said the government would go to any length for the rule of law while referring to the accountability of the corrupt.
The prime minister presided over a meeting of the government leaders and spokespersons here, which was attended by federal ministers and aides. The meeting was briefed on the appeal filed in the PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif case, on which the prime minister said that there were corruption cases of billions of rupees against Shehbaz and there was nothing personal with anyone but the looters of national wealth could not be spared.
Imran Khan maintained that they would go to any extent for the rule of law, the process of accountability and the struggle for the rule of law would continue at all costs. Meanwhile, the federal government requested the Supreme Court to suspend the May 07 order of Lahore High Court (LHC), granting one-time permission to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif to go abroad.
Federation of Pakistan, through secretary Ministry of Interior, filed a petition under Article 185(3) of the Constitution, challenging the order passed by the LHC on May 07 in the petition filed by Shehbaz Sharif challenging the placement of his name on the blacklist/no-fly list.
A single LHC bench led by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi on May 07 had granted one-time permission to Shehbaz Sharif to go abroad for treatment.
"Keeping in view the past conduct and travel history, the fact that name of the petitioner is not on the ECL at the moment, the name of the petitioner on the blacklist, if already placed, will not stop him from one-time visit to UK from May 08, 2021 to July 03, 2021 for his medical checkup as per his personal commitment made before this court," the interim order issued by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi had said. The federation, however, while challenging the LHC order in the Supreme Court, submitted that the impugned order being an order passed in violation of law, all cannons of justice and norms of equity and fairness cannot be allowed to stand as a precedent. “Such orders, if allowed to remain in field, will cause severe damage to the impartiality, integrity and reputation of the august institution of judiciary,” the Interior Ministry submitted.
It further contended that the judge was not justified to pass ex-parte mandatory order without notice allowing the respondent (Shehbaz Sharif) to travel abroad as he was involved and required in many cases pending before the trial courts
Similarly, the government submitted that the single judge was not justified in law while passing the impugned order without providing notice and proper opportunity of hearing and granting due time for seeking instruction from the concerned department and authority.
“The respondent (Shehbaz Sharif) is guarantor of his brother Mina Muhammad Nawaz Sharif by way of his undertaking and yet Mian Nawaz Sharif while living in public gaze and in good health in London and is seen as regularly visiting restaurants and fully engaging in other public activities, remains as absconder from courts,” the Interior Ministry contended. It further contended that the single judge erred in law and ignored the fact that the respondent’s (Shehbaz Sharif) other close relatives are also fugitive from law and after absconding from the country are living abroad.
“There is every likelihood that the respondent too will also join his other absconding family members and was most unlikely to return so as to prolong and avoid his trails and other proceedings being conducted against him and others,” the Interior Ministry submitted. It further submitted that the single judge passed the order when the there is no authentication report of any authorised medical institution which establish that the respondent required immediate medical treatment abroad.
It prayed that leave to appeal may be granted against the impugned order dated May 07, 2021 passed by the single judge of the LHC and suspend operation of the impugned order.
Meanwhile, the registrar office of the LHC refused to entertain a contempt of court petition moved by Shehbaz Sharif against various authorities of the government for not letting him fly abroad in defiance of the court’s order.
The office returned the petition to the lawyers of Shehbaz Sharif saying the contempt petition did not fall in the category of the cases permitted to be filed during the enforcement of COVID-19 related SOPs.
However, the legal team filed a civil miscellaneous application asking the court to ensure implementation of its May 07 order wherein Shehbaz was given a one-time permission to go to the United Kingdom for medical treatment. However, the immigration officials at the Lahore airport stopped Shehbaz from boarding a reserved flight on the pretext that his name was also included in Provisional National Identification List (PNIL), another category of no-fly list, which was not updated yet. The application filed through Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar pleads that the excuse for not permitting the petitioner to proceed abroad was lame and false because a comprehensive mechanism as to updating of Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) placing or removal of names in the stop lists functions round the clock. It argues that the respondents with mala fide intention deliberately disobeyed and defied the court’s order. The application asks the court to get its order implemented. Justice Ali Baqar Najafi would hear the application today (Tuesday).
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