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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court disposed of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI)’s petition challenging the 2005 privatisation of K-Electric (KE) for being infructuous.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ayesha Malik and Justice Athar Minallah, on Tuesday, heard the JI’s petition for declaring the privatisation of Karachi Electric Supply Company as unlawful.

During the proceeding, Justice Minallah questioned why the Court should hear this case against the privatisation of KE, adding: “A lot has happened in the past in Article 184 (3) cases”. He noted that the Pakistan Steel Mill case was also heard under the same Article.

Justice Minallah told the JI’s counsel that the party has access to the Parliament; therefore, it should raise the issue there instead of bringing it to the Court. “This plea under Article 184(3) is against the economic policy of the government,” he noted.

“If the parliament fails, then the option of the judiciary always remains,” argued the JI’s counsel; but he was snubbed by Justice Minallah who advised him not to say “that the parliament has failed”.

“Wouldn’t the parliament fail if there is no respect for the institution,” inquired the judge, urging the JI to uphold the sanctity of the country’s highest forum of debate.

The CJP also noted that the privatisation was a result of “unresolved public grievances”, and said: “it is difficult to go into details at this point”. “If the SC writes in its orders that it is to stay out of economic matters then that could have far-reaching consequences,” CJP Bandial stated. He urged the JI to withdraw its application instead and approach the relevant forum.

The court upon the withdrawal of the petition by the JI disposed of the case.

The same bench allowed a petition seeking revision of its decision declaring perks granted to former managing director and chairman of Pakistan Television (PTV) Ataul Haq Qasmi as illegal.

The apex court has ordered the revision appeals filed to be numbered.

The petitioners were also permitted to change their lawyers under the new laws.

Advocate Akram Sheikh appeared on behalf of the former PTV MD and lawyer Salman Butt represented Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while Pervez Rashid was also granted permission to change his lawyer.

“In view of the new law, want to state additional facts in revision appeals,” said Akram Sheikh.

Upon that, the chief justice said that a review appeal could be reviewed under the recently passed Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Bill, 2023.

“The SC had pronounced the decision of the MD PTV case under 184(3),” observed Justice Athar Minallah, “therefore, the petitioners should take advantage of the new law.”

“Your review request is pending,” Justice Ayesha said and added that additional points in the pending revision may also be submitted through a miscellaneous application. The case was adjourned indefinitely.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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