Accountability Court defers hearing on Mir Shakeel’s acquittal plea in Johar Town case
LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday deferred hearing on an application of Jang/ Geo owner Mir Shakeelur Rehman’s seeking acquittal in reference of illegal allotment of plots in Johar Town.
The court adjourned the hearing till tomorrow and directed NAB prosecutor Haris Qureshi to give arguments on accused’s acquittal plea.
Accountability court judge Asad Ali is conducting trial of illegal plot allotment reference against Jang and Geo owner Mir Shakeel and others accused. Mir Shakeel, Bashir Ahmed and Humayun Faiz Rasool have moved appliction under section 265-K of Code of Criminal procedure(CrPC) seeking their acquittal prior to recording of evidence. They appeared before the court along with their lawyers.
As the hearing commenced, Judge Asad Ali pointed out that the court had already heard lengthy arguments on the plea of acquittal. Representing Mir Shakeel, Amjad Pervez advocate said he would extend arguments briefly.
He pleaded that Mir Shakeel was not a public office holder but he was accused of assisting public office holder.
In this case, it is not even alleged that Mir Shakeel, Nawaz Sharif and DG LDA got financial benefits. The case is just confined to reserve price of extra land, he argued. The accused’s wife Shahina Shakeel and LDA had also given evidence of correspondence, Judge Asad Ali said.
Amjad Pervez replied that the writer of the letter was neither a nominated accused nor a witness in this case.
Do you deny the truth of this letter? Judge Asad Ali’s inquired .
Mr. Pervez nodded in affirmative and said accused Mir Shakeel denied the authenticity of the letter.
Shahina Shakeel had replied to the letter of LDA in 1992 regarding reserve price but the department remained silent for 34 years and the house has been constructed on the land. He pointed out that LDA did not get construction permission or completion certificate till old dues are paid.
LDA issues letter of non-recovery of any amount but LDA is not a complainant in the case against Mir Shakeel. A case has been registered against Mir Shakeel on the complaint of an anchor of a TV channel who is not even an eye witness.
He said even if any money is owed to Mir Shakeel, it is not a crime. At this point, the judge restrained him from touching the merits of the case and asked him to confine his arguments to acquittal application.
The lawyer said the case was briefly presented on the inquiry of the court. Mir Shakeel indicted under NAB Second and Third Amendment Ordinance.
In order to misuse the power of public representative, it is necessary to prove that the public representative has personal interests. Lawmakers issue second NAB amendment ordinance to fix NAB’s direction in 2019 because before the amendment, NAB was making cases with impunity, considering itself as a higher body.
At this judge pointed out that this case is not only about payment of reserve price but also violation of exemption policy. Mir Shakeel is also accused of including the streets in the plots in his house, Judge added.
Continuing his arguments, Mr. Pervez said the master plan of Johar Town was approved on August 27, 1990 but before that Mir Shakeel had all the plots.
He said Mir Shakeel is ready to give money to the exchequer if there is any loss, adding that Mir Shakeel’s 54 kanal plot allotment does not deprive anyone of rights. He requested to the court to acquit
Mir Shakeel in light of NAB Ordinance amendment.
Arguing on behalf of accused former DG LDA Humayun Faiz Rasool, Barisster Haider Rasool said his client did not approve the allotment.
Nawaz Sharif as Chairman LDA approved interim construction and
Humayun Faiz Rasool as DG LDA only prepared summary of interim construction in good faith. No one was harmed by the approval of the interim construction and
Humayun Faiz Rasool did not get any financial benefit, he said.
When the summary of interim construction on plots was approved to Mir Shakeel, the master plan was amended, the lawyer said and pleaded that Accused Humayun Faiz Rasool might be acquitted.
A lawyer also extended arguments for former director land development Mian Bashir. He said the reference against the accused was made illegally.
To a court’ s query, he said he was pointing out legal and illegal measures instead of merit. He said no case was made out against accused Mian Bashir under NAB Amendment Ordinance and he also be acquitted along with his co-accused.
After hearing arguments, the court put off hearing till tomorrow, requiring NAB to extend arguments on acquittal applications of three accused.
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