SC directs immediate appointments on vacant posts of accountability courts

ISLAMABAD (APP): Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government to immediately fill posts laying vacant in the accountability courts.

A two-member SC bench comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah issued these directions while hearing a petitioner filed by the government against the Lahore High Court (LHC) order letting Leader of the Opposition and President PML-N Shahbaz Sharif to travel abroad.

LHC had granted one-time permission to former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif to go abroad on medical grounds, after which the government moved the Supreme Court to have the decision declared null and void.

During the course of proceedings, the Registrar Lahore High Court (LHC) submitted the record of the case before the bench. He informed that the case was heard in a day after the reservations pertaining to Shahbaz Sharif’s leaving the country plea  were dismissed.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan asked, Was Shahbaz Sharif’s case heard as per the usual system or through a special process?

The registrar replied that the high court decided to hear the government’s reservations and Sharif’s petition on the same day.

He said the reservations were raised on Friday at 9:30 am and proceedings into the case began at 11:00 am the same day.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan observed that the government’s law officer was provided only 30 minutes to seek instructions.

He asked how many hearings were held, in the past one year, on Fridays at 12:00 noon?

He said that the LHC had not even inquired as to which list Sharif’s name had been included to. He asked in how many other cases was one-sided relief provided?

He also asked could such a general order be issued as the Lahore High Court did?

The federal government during the hearing withdrew its petition against the Lahore High Court’s decision allowing Shahbaz Sharif to leave abroad.

The counsel for Shahbaz Sharif said that his client would not pursue contempt of court proceedings against institutions for not letting him go abroad.

The court also opined that the manner in which Shahbaz Sharif was provided relief in this case could not become a precedent.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked how could the movement of a suspect in an ongoing criminal case be restricted?

The attorney general said that the government had not made any accusations in its appeal against the LHC’s verdict. He expressed concern that the LHC’s decision would set a precedence for future cases as well.

He said Shahbaz Sharif’s trial judge was transferred by high court.

The counsel for Shahbaz Sharif asked what was the problem with appointing a new judge of the accountability court?

The Attorney General said that it took three to four months to appoint a new judge.

He said that it could be possible that Shahbaz Sharif did not want to conclude his case.

He said that the government objected to the manner in which the judge was removed prematurely.

The LHC Registrar said that names had been forwarded for appointment of new judges.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked did the government object to the new names?

The Attorney General said that he had no knowledge of government’s objections to new names.

The court after hearing arguments disposed of the case over withdrawal of petition.