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LAHORE: A Lahore High Court judge on Thursday recused himself from hearing a petition against detention of Jamatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed expressing concern over transfer of another case pertaining to alleged corruption in Punjab Saaf Pani Company, which he had been seized with.

Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali and senior lawyer AK Dogar, the counsel for the JuD chief, were present in the court during the hearing of Mr Saeed’s petition when Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi posed queries to them about transfer of a partly heard case.

Both AGP and Mr Dogar endorsed the judge’s view saying a pending case could not be withdrawn from a court.

Justice Naqvi observed with regret that the court could not work independently under such circumstances.

Addressing the petitioner, a female lawyer, in the company’s case, the judge said with concern that the case had been transferred from his court since it was related to government.

“I am not going to hear Hafiz Saeed’s case as well,” Justice Naqvi told the attorney general and the counsel of the JuD and sent the file to chief justice for fixation of the case before any other bench.

In her petition, Advocate Sania Kanwal had alleged massive corruption in the Saaf Pani Company.

The judge had widened the scope of the petition and directed the Punjab government to submit details of all public sector companies working in the province and salaries/perks being enjoyed by their chief executive officers.

The government, however, failed to submit the required details and rather tried to delay the proceedings by seeking time on each date. The government’s counsel also questioned powers of the court to take suo motu in the case saying the petitioner never sought such details in her petition.

The petition would now be heard by Justice Shahid Karim since he had already been hearing a petition challenging establishment of public sector companies.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2017