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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday issued a notice to the federal government and at least 64 politicians on a petition seeking directions for the politicians to bring their foreign assets back to Pakistan.

The politicians include Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, PML-Q Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Husain, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari.

Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafri had filed this petition originally in 1996 against 26 political leaders and later amended it, adding more names of politicians to it.

The lawyer stated that the respondent politicians had transferred at least $300,000 million to foreign countries through money laundering, causing a huge loss to the national exchequer. He said these politicians had not yet submitted to the court their affidavits regarding alleged money laundering despite repeated court orders.

Mr Jafri pleaded that Pakistan would have no need to get foreign loans if assets of the politicians were brought back to return the international loan of the country. He asked the court to issue directions to the politicians to bring back their assets.

Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan adjourned hearing until May 29 and sought replies from the respondents.

Contempt plea: A petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking contempt of court proceedings against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan for, what he says, storming the courtroom of the LHC chief justice along with a large number of his party workers on May 7.

Punjab PML-N Lawyers’ Forum President Mian Sharif Zafar Joya filed the petition, saying court premises and courtrooms around the world are solemn places.

He says the right to peaceful assembly cannot be extended to court premises as that will entitle any group of persons to violate public order by simply staging a sit-in on court premises and in courtrooms, completely jeopardising the ability of courts to dispense justice.

The petitioner says the right to form or be a member of a political party is enshrined in the constitution, however, that right has also been expressly stated to be subject to reasonable restrictions by law in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan or public order.

He says the judiciary is an independent organ of the state and any violation of the integrity of the court is, therefore, a violation of the integrity of Pakistan. Therefore, he says, no right to form or be a member of a political party extends to a person who violates the integrity of the court.

He alleges the respondent with intent came to the LHC on May 7 in order to obstruct the administration of justice, by bringing a large number of supporters to the court premises and inside the courtroom. He says the extent of damage caused by his actions resulted in the displeasure of the chief justice who had to leave his courtroom.

The petitioner states the act of respondent has lowered the esteem of the court in the eyes of the general public which is contempt of court. He pleads that the respondent is liable to be proceeded against in contempt proceedings.

He further prays the respondent be restrained from entering the premises of the high court without permission or an order of the court requiring his presence.