The permanent judges of the SHC are being sworn in by the chief justice on Wednesday.—Online
The permanent judges of the SHC are being sworn in by the chief justice on Wednesday.—Online

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to comply with the office objection against its petition seeking local government elections in Sindh and also produce an earlier SHC judgement on LG polls.

The PTI, through its leader Khurram Sher Zaman and some other MPAs, moved the SHC seeking directives for provincial authorities and the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold LG elections in the province and appoint neutral administration/administrators for the interim period.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui took up the matter for hearing and pointed out that an order on the subject matter had already been delivered by the SHC.

The lawyer for petitioners sought time to place on record the relevant judgement on the issue of LG elections.

Three judges take oath as permanent judges of the Sindh High Court

While adjourning the hearing till Aug 9, the bench directed the petitioners to comply with the office objection before the next hearing.

The petitioners submitted that the tenure of the elected LG representatives in the province had ended in August 2020 and the respondents had failed to hold the LG election after 120 days as provided under the law.

They further argued that the respondents were continuously violating the fundamental rights of the people of Sindh by not holding polls in violation of the law and also defying the spirit of Article 140-A of the Constitution.

Bahria Town violence

Police on Wednesday informed the SHC that over 40,000 suspects were shown as unknown in the cases lodged in connection with the June 6 violence during a protest demonstration against Bahria Town Karachi (BTK) at the housing project.

The investigating officer told another SHC division bench that he had submitted the original police file in the office of the Sindh prosecutor general on July 13 and since then no further investigation had been carried out by him.

The IO undertook that no further arrest would be made until the issue of over 40,000 unknown absconders was sorted out and proper structure was made in order to identify them through independent evidence including CCTV footage.

The division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro took his statement on record and made it part of the order and adjourned the hearing till Aug 13 since the prosecutor general (PG) and a lawyer were found absent.

It also asked the PG to appear on the next hearing.

Leaders of several nationalist groups had approached the SHC stating that they were being victimised at the hands of the provincial and police authorities as multiple FIRs were registered against them over a single violent incident.

This, they argued, was not only against the law and several judgements of the apex court, but also tantamount to misuse of power by state functionaries.

Three SHC judges sworn in

Three additional judges took their oath of office as permanent judges of the SHC on Wednesday.

SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh administered the oath to Justice Rashida Asad, Justice Abdul Mobeen Lakho and Justice Zulfiqar Ali Sangi at a ceremony held at the main SHC building.

The newly confirmed judges were appointed in August 2019 as additional judges of the SHC.

At present, the total strength of the judges in the SHC is 34 against the sanctioned strength of 40.

However, Justice Nazar Akbar and Justice Fahim Siddiqui are set to retire on Aug 6 while Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar is being elevated to the Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2021

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