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Land fraud case: defence objects to new judge in LHC bench

September 11, 2012

RAWALPINDI, Sept 10: Counsel for property tycoon Malik Riaz on Monday raised objection to the inclusion of a new judge in a two members’ bench of Lahore High Court, hearing the land fraud case.

As a result the bench, working under a deadline set by the Supreme Court to decide the jurisdiction of the trial court for proceeding into the case, adjourned the hearing without going any step further.

The division bench comprising Justice Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed and Justice Mamonur Rashid Sheikh referred the matter to the Chief Justice LHC.

Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan counsel for the tycoon objected to the inclusion of Justice Sheikh in the bench.

He said the court was working under a deadline of September 15, and the previous bench comprising Justice Ahmed and Justice Shahid Hameed Dar had partly heard the matter.

The composition of the division bench for the current week should not be changed as the counsel would have to argue the case afresh, he added.

Sadaqat Ali Khan, prosecutor general, Punjab, representing Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) reminded the court that his objection to the previous member Justice Dar was overruled, therefore, the court should also overrule the objection of tycoon's counsel and would proceed with the matter because there is very short time left with the court.

He said that Malik Riaz in order to avert his imminent arrest after September 15 is raising objections to the bench.

According to him, the counsel for Malik Riaz should file an application before the LHC Chief Justice if they do not have trust in the division bench and wanted to change its composition.

ACE has complete faith in the bench and the judges and it wanted the continuity of the hearing, he added.

He said that the change of bench composition was a routine matter and it should be treated accordingly.