SC asks LHC to decide on Parvez Elahi plea by 21st

Says in case of non-compliance, former Punjab CM will be entitled to protective bail

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.

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