LHC dismisses five petitions against delay in Haj quotas

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The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday dismissed five identical petitions for early execution of the court’s verdict on Haj Policy. The court observed that the petitions were ‘filed in haste’, without contacting respondents under the procedures laid down in the Haj Policy 2011 or without studying the verdict.
This order was passed by a single bench of Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry.
On June 6, a three-member bench headed by LHC Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry had set aside Haj quotas for Haj 2011, allocated to 650 select Haj Group Organizers (HGOs), declaring the process without lawful authority, and had ordered Ministry of Religious Affairs to invite fresh applications on merit from all qualified Hajj organisers.
Later, the petitions were moved by Travel Shop (Pvt) Limited Chief Executive Ashfaq Ahmed Mirza, through his counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique and four others, submitting that the court orders were being defied by the respondents. They prayed for early implementation of the court’s verdict.
The CJ observed that it was a far cry to raise apprehensions about the intentions of the ministry before applying for the Haj quota under the procedure, which was also noted in the verdict for all parties to follow. The CJ observed that the matter of HGOs had already been dealt with and decided by a full bench covering all other connected matters. He noted that the full bench had also issued instructions to the respondents to receive applications from the petitioners and others people who intended to get themselves enrolled as HGOs if they fulfilled the criteria laid down in the Hajj Policy 2011.
Azhar said that the petitioners had approached the ministry for fresh allotments right after the LHC’s June 6 ruling on quotas, but they were told that the quotas had been exhausted in allotments to the tour operators used by the ministry in previous years and the court orders could not be implemented. He pointed out that names of the 736 operators allotted quotas under the previous policy were still on the ministry’s website, even though the LHC had cancelled their quotas. He said no investigation was needed as the material on the ministry’s website was enough to establish contempt of court.
LHC issues notice to PML-N
leaders on Shumaila’s petition: The Lahore High Court on Thursday again issued notice for July 8 to PML-N leaders on their failure to file their reply to a petition filed by former MPA Shumaila Rana for the restoration of her seat in the Punjab Assembly.
The court issued notice to MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique, Zulifqar Khosa, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and others. Shumaila resigned as a member of the Punjab Assembly following her alleged involved in credit card fraud. A trial court, however, acquitted her o on March 1, 2010.
Earlier, the court issued notice for June 23 to the PML-N leaders and Chief Minister’s Secretary Muhammad Ajmal and Additional Secretary Law Naseem Sadiq after the counsel for the Punjab Assembly speaker contended that he was representing only Speaker Rana Iqbal Ahmed in the case, therefore, it would be better to issue notice to other respondents as well so that they might present their points of view.
However, despite being serving notice, the PML-N leaders did not file reply.