LAHORE - Chief Justice Lahore High Court Muhammad Amir Bhatti has said that transparency is essential for the development of any institution.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the reconstructed website of the Lahore High Court, he said that the public face of an organization is revealed through the best websites which is the interpreter of the organization. “In order to maintain a good image of the institutions, it is important that public aspirations should not be set aside”, he said and added that the most important aspect of Lahore High Court’s website was the Overseas Pakistani Portal.

“Our Overseas Pakistanis are playing their best role in the development of the country, sending billions of dollars in foreign exchange to Pakistan”, he said. Appreciating the work of the IT team of the Lahore High Court under the guidance of Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, the Chief Justice said: “Our IT team has done a revolutionary job which deserves commendation”. Also, a one-day seminar on the rights of overseas Pakistanis was held at Punjab Judicial Academy. Chief Justice Lahore High Court Muhammad Amir Bhatti, Senior Judge Justice Malik Shehzad Ahmed, Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, Justice Jawad Hassan, Registrar Irfan Ahmed Saeed, DG District Judiciary Masood Arshad, DG Judicial and Case Management Shazib Saeed, Commissioner Overseas Pakistan Commission Khadim Abbas Shah along with officers of other institutions including Lahore High Court, Punjab Judicial Academy and Overseas Pakistan Commission participated. The seminar was also attended by judges of overseas courts of the province and several overseas Pakistanis.

Addressing the seminar and launching ceremony of the website, Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, also an administrative Judge for Overseas Pakistani Cell and IT said that Overseas Pakistanis were sons of the soil and in no way less important than the people living in Pakistan. He said that every Overseas Pakistani had equal constitutional rights and it was after this realization that separate courts were set up for them.

Justice Shujaat Ali Khan said that the Overseas Pakistani Cell had been set up in the Lahore High Court to resolve the issues related to the cases of Overseas Pakistanis. The honorable judge further stated that from January 1, 2021 to April 2022, about 5,000 overseas Pakistanis filed cases in the district judiciary, while in the same period, the district judiciary decided more than 4,000 cases of overseas Pakistanis.

Similarly, about 300 new cases were filed on the Lahore High Court principal seat and benches during the said period, out of which a large number of cases were decided on the Lahore High Court Lahore principal seat and benches, he said.

Justice Shujaat Ali Khan reiterated that thanks to the large number of decisions in the cases of Pakistani immigrants, the confidence of overseas Pakistanis in the judiciary had further strengthened. Furthermore, Justice Shujaat Ali Khan said that the process of excellence in any thing is an ongoing process and things are made perfect by going through evolutionary stages. He said that the present age is the age of technology and facilities were being provided to the people by utilizing advanced technology.

“Every petitioner has the right to access all kinds of information related to his case.  Therefore, the Lahore High Court is providing information related to the cases to the petitioners through various available methods. The reconstructed website of the Lahore High Court is also a link in the same chain, which has made it possible to access the database of cases from the history of the Lahore High Court and various aspects of the Supreme Court”, he said. Speaking at the seminar, Justice Jawad Hassan of Lahore High Court said that Punjab was the first province in Pakistan to talk about the rights of overseas Pakistanis and Lahore High Court is the first court in Pakistan to have an Overseas Pakistani Cell made.

“We have made the best decision regarding the rights of overseas Pakistanis,” he said. Justice Jawad Hassan said that the judges of Lahore High Court visited foreign countries and reviewed the issues related to the pending cases of Overseas Pakistanis in Pakistani courts.

He said the judiciary and the previous government together had restored the confidence of Overseas Pakistanis. “In the year 2021-22, record remittances of over Rs 29 billion came to Pakistan in which all stakeholders played their part”.

Justice Jawad Hassan further said: “We are all bound by the constitution and we cannot tolerate anything that is outside the constitution. Under the constitution of Pakistan all Pakistanis have equal rights. No Pakistani, no matter where he lives, can be deprived of any constitutional right”.

He said the Overseas Pakistanis had been facing many problems in Pakistan. “The properties of Pakistani immigrants have been seized. It used to take years to settle small cases. However, the judiciary and the government understood the sensitivity of this issue,” he said.

DG Judicial Academy Ashtar Abbas, Commissioner Punjab Overseas Pakistan Commission Syed Khadim Abbas Shah, Director Legal Punjab Overseas Pakistan Commission Raja Muhammad Zubair, DG Judicial and Case Management Shazib Saeed, Senior Additional Registrar IT Dr. Abdul Nasir were present on the occasion.

Director Overseas Pakistani Cell Johnson Bernard, Civil Judge Maghira Munawar, Senior Research Officer Muhammad Imran Sheikh and Librarian Muhammad Shahid also gave briefings on various topics.