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Notices to govt, IGP on plea challenging Basant law

Updated January 10, 2019

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Petitioner argues the kite-flying activity was an infringement of fundamental rights of the citizens. — File
Petitioner argues the kite-flying activity was an infringement of fundamental rights of the citizens. — File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the provincial government, police chief and others on a petition challenging Punjab Prohibition of Kite Flying Ordinance 2001.

A citizen, Ayza Javed, moved the petition as public interest litigation seeking a direction to the government functionaries not to allow kite flying or Basant festival.

The petitioner through counsel Sheraz Zaka contended that the impugned ordinance authorised the government to allow kite flying. He argued the kite-flying activity was an infringement of fundamental rights of the citizens.

He pointed out that the Supreme Court in its 2006 judgment declared kite flying and celebration of Basant festival a violation of fundamental rights. He said the provincial government in 2009 introduced an amendment to the law acquiring power to allow kite-flying activity without defining any criteria.

The counsel argued the fundamental rights were most superior and special in nature and could not be disturbed without having strict recourse to the law. He said the celebration of kite-flying festival would not only result in loss of lives but also disruption to electricity transmission.

He asked the court to direct the respondents not to allow any kite-flying activity nor celebration of Basant festival. He also urged the court to declare void section 4(1) and 4-B of the Punjab Prohibition of Kite Flying Ordinance 2001, under which the government enjoyed powers to grant permission of kite flying.

The chief secretary, inspector general of police, lord mayor and Lesco had been made party in the petition.

Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh issued notices to respondents for Jan 15 and directed the registrar office to consolidate the petition with identical petitions already taken up by Justice Aminuddin Khan.

REMAND: An accountability court granted the NAB a 14-day physical remand of Gujrat’s former district police officer (DPO) Kamran Mumtaz facing charges of embezzlement in public funds.

The NAB arrested Mr Mumtaz the other day on his return from Australia after attending a professional training course. The bureau alleged the former DPO was involved in misappropriating Rs550m under different heads, including petrol bills, allowances and Shuhadaa funds of the department during his posting in Gujrat.

A NAB prosecutor asked the court to grant 15-day physical remand of the suspect for interrogation and recovery of the plundered money. However, the court allowed 14-day remand of the officer. In this case, another former DPO Rai Ijaz is already in the NAB custody.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019

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