ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court issued notices to Shehbaz Sharif and others on the federation’s appeal against the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) verdict allowing the president Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to travel abroad. A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah on Tuesday heard the federation’s appeal against the LHC order. The federal government prayed before the Supreme Court to suspend the operation of LHC order. A single-judge bench of the LHC on 7th May allowed the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif to go abroad. The bench summoned the case record i.e. on what date the petition was filed, and when it was taken up for hearing.
It turned down Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP)’s request to issue notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
It, however, said the decision in this regard would be taken after examining the record.
AGP Khalid Jawed Khan argued that impugned order has been passed with undue haste and in an unprecedented manner without notice or proper opportunity of hearing to the federal government and others to contest and defend the case that the LHC single-judge bench passed an ex parte order without hearing the federation. He said, “We respect Shehbaz Sharif as an opposition leader, but the law is equal for everyone.”
The government’s concern is the handling of case by the LHC, and not of anyone going abroad, adding, on Jamutal Wida objections were removed and order passed.
Justice Ijaz asked about the steps taken by the government departments against the LHC decision. He said prima facie the government has committed contempt of court. Justice Sajjad said the High Court stamp of Shehbaz Sharif application is of 7th May.
The AGP said according to the record, the judge passed the order on the same date it was filed.
Justice Ijaz inquired why everything was done in a hurry. He remarked that on an urgent application the chief justice writes a note.
Justice Sajjad said Shehbaz Sharif has withdrawn his application from the High Court. He questioned after that how the federation’s appeal is maintainable. The attorney general said the application is withdrawn, not the decision allowing the PML-N president to go abroad. He said as Shehbaz’s contempt petition is pending, therefore, through that order could be implemented.
Justice Ijaz inquired if it was Shehbaz Sharif’s medical emergency, therefore, the case was decided expeditiously.
The AGP informed that Shehbaz Sharif bail on medical grounds was dismissed.
He said there is no material, which shows Shehbaz Sharif had a medical emergency. Justice Ijaz remarked that Shehbaz Sharif is an opposition leader and the president of the PML-N.
He raised the question whether the guarantor cannot go abroad? The attorney general said if there is no legal restriction then a person can go straight to the airport from the jail.
He said if the LHC bench had heard the federation then it could be apprised that Shehbaz’s name is on black list.
He said now Shehbaz’s name has been put on the Exit Control List.
The federation has contended that Shehbaz Sharif is facing multiple criminal proceedings/trials for depriving the people of billions of rupees, in concert with the members of his family and others.
It said that the respondent could not be entitled to the privileged treatment accorded through impugned order, which is passed in violation of law, all canons of justice and norms of equity and fairness.
It further submitted that the single judge was not justified, while passing the impugned order without summoning the record, a report from the concerned departments or authority was necessary for a just and fair decision of the case.
It said if such orders, allowed to remain in the field, shall cause severe damage to the impartiality, integrity and reputation of the judiciary.
The case was adjourned until next week.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021