LHC waits for govt decision on Maryam’s travel abroad

Updated 24 Dec 2019

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The Lahore High Court on Monday adjourned till Dec 26 the hearing of a petition of PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz to wait for a decision by the federal cabinet on whether or not to allow her to travel abroad. — AFP/File
The Lahore High Court on Monday adjourned till Dec 26 the hearing of a petition of PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz to wait for a decision by the federal cabinet on whether or not to allow her to travel abroad. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday adjourned till Dec 26 the hearing of a petition of PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz to wait for a decision by the federal cabinet on whether or not to allow her to travel abroad.

Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A. Khan informed a two-judge LHC bench that a sub-committee had presented its recommendation to the federal cabinet that would take a final decision on removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

Without naming Dr Babar Awan, an aide to the prime minister, the bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Anwarul Haq Pannun wondered how someone could give a statement when no decision had been taken so far on the matter.

Mr Awan had on Sunday told the media that the sub-committee of the cabinet rejected Ms Nawaz’s plea.

The counsel for Ms Nawaz requested the court to allow a one-time permission to the petitioner to travel abroad till the cabinet takes its decision. But the court observed that it could not decide the matter without seeing the government’s decision.

Court to announce today verdict on Rana Sanaullah’s bail plea in heroin recovery case

The additional attorney general said the federal government was likely to announce its decision on Tuesday (today) and the bench would be duly informed about it.

The court adjourned the hearing to Dec 26 with an observation that the petitioner would have to wait for the cabinet decision.

Verdict reserved

The Lahore High Court reserved its verdict on a post-arrest bail petition filed by former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan in the 15kg heroin recovery case.

Justice Chaudhry Mushtaq Ahmad reserved the verdict after Mr Sanaullah’s lawyers and prosecutors of the Anti-Narcotics Force concluded their arguments. The judge will announce the decision on Tuesday (today) at 2pm.

The prosecution team was represented by Irfan Malik, Danish Mashkoor Siddiqui and Raja Inam and the defence side by Azam Nazir Tarar, Zahid Bokhari and Ahsan Bhoon.

Advocate Tarar argued that the petitioner was implicated in a false case on political grounds as he had been a strong critic of the government. He said the FIR was registered with a considerable delay while the CCTV footage recovered from the Punjab Safe City Authority contradicted the story of the prosecution.

The counsel said the petitioner, before his detention, had frequently expressed apprehensions of his arrest on different television programmes. To a court’s query, he said the first bail petition of Mr Khan was withdrawn from the high court as new evidence [CCTV footage] was presented before the trial court. The counsel replied in the affirmative when asked whether the trial court had denied bail to Rana Sanaullah twice.

Advocate Bokhari presented some news clippings and columns published in different newspapers regarding apprehensions about the arrest of the petitioner. He said journalists, including Hamid Mir, Azaz Syed and Hassan Nisar, narrated the whole story behind the petitioner’s arrest in their columns. The counsel said the journalists were ready to record their statements if required by the court. He said no video of the petitioner’s arrest had been produced by the prosecution before the trial court.

Questioning the maintainability of the petition, one of the prosecutors said the second bail petition could not be filed on new grounds. Moreover, he argued that the offence against the petitioner was non-bailable. He said the defence had admitted all events mentioned in the FIR, except the recovery of heroin. The onus to prove innocence lied on the defence, he argued.

The prosecutor said the trial could be concluded within one month if the LHC issued a directive in this regard. The petitioner, if found innocent, would be acquitted in trial, he said, requesting the court to dismiss the bail petition.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2019