LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday suspended the operation of a notification about recent increase in prices of lifesaving medicines and sought a reply from the caretaker federal government.

Justice Shahid Karim passed the injunctive order on a petition by a citizen, Muhammad Aslam.

A counsel for the petitioner argued that the caretaker government had no jurisdiction or mandate to increase the prices of medicines. He said it was a mandate of a duly elected government.

He pointed out that the caretaker government amended the Drug Act 1976 and surrendered the powers to regulate prices of medicines. He said the caretaker cabinet made an unconstitutional decision, which was liable to be struck down.

He said the prices had been increased of as many as 146 lifesaving medicines, including that of cancer and antibiotics. He said the government also permitted the pharmaceutical companies to enhance the prices of over a hundred medicines on their own.

He asked the court to set aside the notification of new prices of medicines for being unconstitutional.

The judge restrained the government from implementing the notification and directed it to submit a reply by the next week.

PTI leaders’ bail extended

An anti-terrorism court on Thursday extended the pre-arrest bail of PTI former secretary general Asad Umar, former prime minister Imran Khan’s sisters Uzma Khan and Aleema Khan, former foreign minister’s son Zain Qureshi and others in several May 9 riots’ cases.

Mr Qureshi and the sisters of Khan personally appeared before the court on expiry of their pre-arrest bail, however, Mr Umar, through his counsel, sought a one-time exemption from personal appearance.

Judge Naveed Iqbal extended the bail of both sisters till March 16 with a direction to police to submit challan in the cases against them.

The judge extended the bail of Qureshi and Umar till March 9.

The judge also extended the pre-arrest bail of Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and his wife Musarrat Iqbal Cheema till March 6 and directed the police to submit an investigation report.

The judge extended the bail of footballer Shumaila Sattar, Razia Sultana, Maria Khan, Khalida Hameed and other women activists of the PTI.

Outside the court, the sisters of Mr Khan snubbed Ms Cheema when she tried to narrate her ordeal while hiding from police.

“You abandoned my brother in testing time,” Aleema Khan reminded Ms Cheema.

She said politicians are never afraid of going to jail as their political career is considered incomplete without undergoing imprisonment.

“You were considered one of the closest aides to Imran Khan,” Ms Aleema complained to Ms Cheema, who silently listened to the sister of the PTI founder.

Talking to media persons, Aleema Khan said PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz was going to become the chief minister of Punjab after robbing the mandate of the people.

“Maryam Nawaz should feel ashamed. If I were in her place, I would not have accepted any office,” she added.

The bail petitions were filed in cases including attacks on the Jinnah House, which also serves as the residence of Lahore’s corps commander, Askari Tower in Gulberg, torching of PML-N offices in Model Town and a container near Kalma Chowk.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

IMF’s projections
Updated 18 Apr, 2024

IMF’s projections

The problems are well-known and the country is aware of what is needed to stabilise the economy; the challenge is follow-through and implementation.
Hepatitis crisis
18 Apr, 2024

Hepatitis crisis

THE sheer scale of the crisis is staggering. A new WHO report flags Pakistan as the country with the highest number...
Never-ending suffering
18 Apr, 2024

Never-ending suffering

OVER the weekend, the world witnessed an intense spectacle when Iran launched its drone-and-missile barrage against...
Saudi FM’s visit
Updated 17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

The government of Shehbaz Sharif will have to manage a delicate balancing act with Pakistan’s traditional Saudi allies and its Iranian neighbours.
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...