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LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijazul Ahsan has constituted a larger bench to decide a number of petitions against and in favour of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Orange Line Metro Train.

Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan will head the five-member bench with Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi and Justice Shahid Karim as its members.

A division bench headed by Justice Khan had on March 17 referred to the chief justice a petition against CPEC and the train project with a request to consolidate all identical petitions and constitute a larger bench to decide the matter. The larger bench would take up the petitions on Monday.

On the other hand, Advocate Azhar Siddique, counsel for civil society in the matter of orange line project, challenged constitution of the larger bench.

The lawyer states that the chief justice had already constituted a division bench comprising Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and Justice Shahid Karim that heard the metro train cases and substantial progress had taken place including issuance of an interim stay order.

He says a local commission has also been appointed by the bench to check violation of stay order and report is to be filed. He pleads that constitution of the larger bench at this stage will delay the proceedings of the case.

Advocate Siddique states that counsel for the government misled the division bench headed by Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan and suggested formation of the larger bench. He says if such acts are allowed for taking the cases from one bench to another, it will seriously impair the judicial system and erode people’s confidence.

Elected: Muhammad Husain and Mumtaz Mustafa have been elected vice chairman and chairman of the executive committee of the Punjab Bar Council, respectively, for a one-year term.

Advocate General of Punjab Shakilur Rehman conducted the election being ex officio chairman of the provincial bar council. Muhammad Husain got 47 votes against his opponent Farhad Shah who bagged 27.

Mumtaz Mustafa secured 49 votes defeating Khawar Bashir who could get 25. All the members of 74-house participated in the polling.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2016