LAHORE - The Lahore High Court Chief Justice on Tuesday rebuked the religious affairs ministry secretary for defying court’s earlier orders about allotment of Haj quota to eligible new Haj group organizers (HGOs).
The secretary said that further quota could not be allocated to newly-registered tour operators as new Munnazim number were not issued after Shabaan 15.
The CJ warned the secretary of initiating contempt of court proceedings against him if the court’s order was defied.
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the court had issued order on June 6 to allocate quota on merit and also among the eligible new tour operators. “It appears that you do not want to allot quota among newly registered tour operators.”
The secretary said the ministry was following court order and the minister had stated that new tour operators would be given quota after the same was granted by Saudi Arabia.
Petitioners’ counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique requested court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the secretary Samma as 15 contempt petitions were lying pending in LHC. The secretary sought time from the court to seek instruction from federal minister of religious affairs Khursheed Shah.
The court deferred hearing and resumed the same after 15 minutes when the secretary Samaa stated that the minister had said the order of the court will be implemented in its letters and spirit.
Later, Mr Samaa undertook before the court that Haj quota of 540 pilgrims would be allocated among at least 10 newly registered Haj Group Organizers (HGOs).
The secretary stated that the quota will be allotted before September 14 after necessary approvals from government of Saudi Arabia and Munnazim numbers for Haj organizers will be obtained.
Representing the petitioners, Advocate Azhar Siddique pointed out that government of Saudi Arabia had given quota of more 10,000 pilgrims to Pakistan but ministry of religious affairs intentionally returned to the quota.
The court adjourned hearing till September 14 and directed the secretary to come up with compliance report. He also directed the ministry to issue enrolment letters to eligible tour operators.
Suspended: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday suspended a notification appointing Zia Latif as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco).
Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan issued the order on a writ petition filed by Lesco ex chief Sharafat Sial through Khawaja Muhammad Haris.
The petitioner submitted that he was appointed on contract basis as the CEO till the permanent appointment of a new CEO. However by removing him, the ministry appointed Zia Latif as CEO on contract despite filling the post on permanent basis, the petitioner added.
“Only a board of governors of Lesco can appoint a CEO, however, Zia Latif has been appointed on political basis through a notification issued by the ministry, the petitioner contended adding the appointment was also discrimination with him.
He requested the court to declare the appointment as illegal and unlawful.
The court heard initial arguments and suspended the notification appointing Zia Latif as CEO of Lesco.
The court also sought reply from water and power ministry and other respondents within three weeks.