LHC issues arrest warrants for Punjab chief secretary


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants for Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed after he failed to appear in a contempt matter.

Justice Ameer Bhatti passed the orders while hearing a petition filed by one Taj Din, seeking contempt proceedings against Toba Tek Singh district administration officials over their failure to comply with the court orders.

The court had summoned the chief secretary in person for Tuesday after the respondents failed to satisfy it regarding the progress on redress of petitioner’s grievances.

As the proceedings started, a law officer informed the court that she was told by her office that the chief secretary would not be able to attend the proceedings and had stated no reason.

At this, the court took a serious note of chief secretary’s absence and observed that the matter was fixed for today in view of his convenience and the same was communicated through a law officer and the court office.

The court, terming the absence willful, held that it amounted to undermining the authority of the court and aimed at showing disrespect to the order for which contempt proceedings should have been initiated. However, the court ordered that for the time being, only bailable arrest warrants be issued. The matter will be further taken up on October 11.

The petitioner had filed the present contempt petition in 2011, submitting that he was a tenant of a commercial plot measuring 7-marla of Toba Tek Singh district Council for 35 years and had constructed two shops on it.

But, the administration razed the shops and retrieved the land, despite LHC’s restraining orders in 1987, he added. The petitioner submitted that he approached the LHC through a contempt petition and the respondents assured the court in 1995 that he would be accommodated. But later on, the respondents did not consider the request of the petitioner, he added. The petitioner submitted that he again filed a contempt petition in 1997 wherein the respondents told that the name of the petitioner had been included in the list of affectees and needful would be done. But, no action was taken despite his request in this regard, he added.