ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan Wednesday asked the Division Bench of the Lahore High Court to positively decide the case against former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi by August 21, 2023 failing which the suspension order shall stand vacated automatically and the accused would be entitled to protective bail as well as a bail granted by the LHC single judge.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan and comprising Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, and Justice Shahid Waheed conducted hearing of Elahi’s plea challenging the suspension order of the two-member bench of the LHC. The LHC single judge bench had granted Parvez Elahi the right to protective bail as well as the right to know about any unknown FIRs that had been lodged against him in order to prevent the practice of political victimization. However, the single judge order was suspended by a Division Bench of the LHC on 17th July, 2023.
During the proceeding, Justice Ijaz inquired from the additional advocate general (AAG) Punjab that how was the provincial government’s intra-court appeal admissible at the high court?” The AAG replied that on August 21, a two-member bench of the LHC will hear the issue of admissibility of the application. “If the court wishes, it may issue a directive that the issue of admissibility be decided on August 21,” he added.
Justice Jamal remarked that litigation against each other is not a good precedent and instead urged the concerned parties to “sit together and resolve the issue through consensus.” Barrister Zafar argued that Ch. Parvez Elahi was a 74-year old man against whom repeated FIRs have been registered for the mala fide purpose of ensuring that he remained in custody and is unable to reach the court for pre-arrest and post-arrest bails.
Justice Mandokhail questioned that if a person is appearing himself to face the charges, why is he being arrested again and again?
The AAG Punjab argued that the LHC had no jurisdiction to take notice of the matter on its own. Upon that Justice Mandokhail said how the government felt “it has the right to file cases upon cases on its own but the court does not have the right to take notice on its own”.
Justice Ijaz said that the case concerned the protection of an individual’s freedom. He added that taking away the freedom of a citizen is unconstitutional and taking away freedom even for a minute is a violation of the Constitution.