Court rues NAB photo release

Ahad plea against arrest

LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Wednesday expressed concerns over the release of a picture by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) showing former LDA DG Ahad Khan Cheema standing behind the bars in a lockup.

“How the picture will be justified if the officer under inquiry is found innocent,” Justice Ali Baqar Najfi questioned while hearing the petition by Ahad against his arrest in Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing scheme case.

NAB’s prosecutor said that there was no illegality in releasing pictures of the arrested persons as the same practice was done by the police. The petitioner’s counsel Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar said releasing picture was violation of Article 4 of the Constitution. He said NAB created media hype in the case and damaged the reputation of the officer. He challenged the authority of the NAB of officially releasing pictures of the arrested persons.

On it, Justice Najafi observed that there had been much hype in media about arrest of the petitioner suggesting high stakes in the case. He also took exception to the alleged strike by the bureaucrats against arrest of their colleague.

“Would they go on strike every time any bureaucrat is arrested,” the judge questioned.  The petitioner’s counsel said that Cheema was one of the competent officers of the provincial government.  He said four more inquiries had been approved against the petitioner during the physical remand only to prolong his custody with the NAB.  However, the bureau’s prosecutor opposed the petition saying that the petitioner was in the NAB’s custody on physical remand and the petition had become infractuous. He said the petitioner also did not challenge his remand.  The petitioner’s counsel sought time to challenge remand and subsequent inquiries. The court allowed his request and adjourned the hearing until March 26.

LHC gives another chance to ECP, Kalsoom’s lawyer to submit replies

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday gave another chance to Election Commission of Pakistan and lawyer of PML-N MNA from NA-120 Kalsoom Nawaz to submit replies on a petition moved by PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid challenging alleged 29,000 unverified votes of the constituency.  Justice Aminuddin Khan of the LHC heard the petition moved by PTI leader Dr. Yasmin Rashid against the alleged unverified votes cast to the PML-N leader Kalsoom Nawaz, wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The petitioner said the record of over 29,000 votes of the constituency was not available with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and thus, the unverified votes were cast in the by-poll of the national assembly’s constituency held last year.  She prayed  to the court to direct the ECP to cancel the unverified votes and also set aside the result of the by-poll. However,  the counsel of the ECP and Ms Nawaz pleaded the court for more time to submit replies. The court allowed the request, and directed the lawyers to ensure submission of the replies by March 15.   Talking to the reporters, Dr. Yasmin Rashid said the ECP and the PML-N had intentionally been delaying the matter to prolong the proceedings.  She said state machinery was used in the by-elections of NA-120 to secure victory for the candidate of the ruling party while the ECP took no action. The ECP had become a sub-wing of the PML-N as several petitions moved by the PTI before it  were not entertained.

“We (PTI)’ll not allow anyone to steal the mandate,” she said adding that “free and fair elections are important for the country’s development and prosperity,”.

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