The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday constituted a new bench to hear the Punjab government’s petition against the Lahore High Court’s order to allow the shifting of the Sharif family’s sugar mills.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, will now hear the plea on October 6.

Earlier, the apex court formed a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel to hear the case.

The case

The provincial government of PTI challenged the transfer of sugar mills belonging to the Sharif family. The Ittefaq, Hamza, and Ashraf Sugar Mills have been transferred to the cotton-producing areas.

The Punjab government in 2006 issued a notification banning the shifting of sugar mills from one district to another. However, on December 4, 2015, through another notification, the Punjab government, regularised the relocation of the factory by clarifying that the ban notification does not cover the relocation of the sugar crushing unit.

The govt allowed the owners of Chaudhry Sugar Mills, Ittefaq Sugar Mills in Sahiwal, Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills in Nankana Sahib, Abdullah (Yousaf) Sugar Mills in Sargodha and Abdullah Sugar Mills in Dipalpur to move the units to other districts.

Former secretary general of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Jahangir Khan Tareen and the owners of Indus Sugar Mills and RYK Sugar Mills had challenged the notification of relocation of the mills from Central Punjab to South of Punjab in the LHC.

In 2016, the Lahore High Court had dismissed the petitions against the sugar mills’ relocation.