Interior ministry ordered to pay petitioner Rs20,000
The amount, to be deposited within two weeks, is to be recovered from the official/s responsible for misusing the authority of law under the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981.Petitioner Nisar A. Sheikh submitted through Advocate Abid Zuberi that his organization, Marigold Society, was running three schools in premises given on rent by Pakistan Steel Mills.There was some dispute over payment of rent and he was informed that his name has been put on the ECL as a defaulter. No grounds were, however, mentioned in the notice sent to him nor any were disclosed when his review application was rejected by the interior ministry without giving him an opportunity of hearing under Section 3 of the 1981 ordinance.According to comments received from the ministry, the petitioner owed Rs8.8 million to PSM in outstanding rent for the premises used by his schools. The PSM wrote to the industries ministry, which forwarded the request to the interior ministry, which took the action it generally takes in the case of bank defaulters.The petition was heard by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Faisal Arab and Deputy Attorney-General Akhter Ali Mahmud agreed with it that the provision of the 1981 ordinance was not available for the purpose it was employed for.The law was not intended for recovery of rent. The ground should preferably have been disclosed in the first instance and definitely after the petitioner had moved a review petition. Finally, there was no justification for not hearing the petitioner rejecting the review plea ex parte under Section 3 of the ordinance.The bench ordered that the petitioner’s name should be taken off the exit control list and that the respondent ministry pay Rs 20,000 as costs within two weeks.‘MISSING’ PEOPLE: The bench adjourned the hearing of seven petitions agitating ‘disappearance’ of as many people to February 13 to enable Attorney-General Makhdoom Ali Khan to make a statement.Appearing for petitioner Abdullah Baloch, Advocate Noor Naz Agha said there was no mystery surrounding the unlawful arrest and confinement of Salim Baloch, Vice-President of Jamhoori Watan Party. He was re-arrested two days after he informed the court on oath that he was tortured in custody. The detainee’s brother has mentioned the registration number of the car in which he was taken away. When he called Helpline 15, he was told by the Lyari Town police office that Salim Baloch had been picked up by ‘official functionaries.Advocate-General Anwar Mansoor Khan asked the counsel to give him a copy of the new petition so that he could ascertain the detainee’s whereabouts. He and DAG Akhter Ali Mahmud submitted that they share the court’s concern over alleged disappearance of people. Nobody could be deprived of his liberty without due process of law, they said.The DAG said the attorney-general had made contacts with ‘the relevant quarters’ but was busy before the Supreme Court. He (the AG) would inform the court of the outcome of the efforts made by him in this behalf, the law officer said and requested adjournment.Mrs Abeera Mengal, Humaira Ali, Javeria Arif Kasamani, Niaz Bibi and Zahra Masooma have demanded the recovery of their husbands and Abdullah Baloch and Wahab Baloch of their brothers. Abdul Hafeez Lakho, compared the prevailing situation to ‘civil martial law’, while Rasheed A. Razvi, Umar Farooq Khan, Nihal Hashmi, Noor Naz Agha, Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal, Haider Imam Rizvi and Mobeen Lakho are among the lawyers appearing for the petitioners.LEA AFFECTEES: Another division bench comprising Justices Mushir Alam and Mrs Yasmeen Abbasy disposed of petitions moved by a number of leaseholders of plots acquired for the Lyari Expressway project with the direction that the award containing valuation of the acquired land should be filed with the referee court of district and sessions judge (District East) and the petitioners raise their objections to the award before the judge as required by the Land Acquisition Act. The petitioners, who owned plots in the PIB Colony, submitted through Advocate Ghulam Qadir Jatoi that their land had been grossly undervalued and that they had not been adequately compensated for loss of their property.MEDICAL ADMISSIONS: The bench sought comments from the Dow University of Medical Sciences in a petition by a disabled girl who claimed that she deserved to be admitted to MBBS against the quota reserved for the disabled. Amna Sarwar said she was refused admission on the ground that she could not practice medicine because of her paralysis caused by polio.Two other petitions contending that entry test questions were out of course were referred to the Larkana and Sukkur education board chairmen for their expert opinion.