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Centre’s plea to share Orange Line details in camera rejected

Centre’s plea to share Orange Line details in camera rejected

LAHORE: The judges of a Lahore High Court division bench on Monday turned down a request of the federal government and directed it to present details of the agreement with China on Orange Line Metro Train project in the court instead of their chamber.

The bench comprising Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and Justice Shahid Karim was hearing petitions filed by civil society members and others challenging the train project on different grounds.

Counsel for the federal government stated before the bench that the agreement between Pakistan and China was confidential and sensitive in nature. He said the document could be presented to judges in chamber.

The bench, however, turned down the plea and directed the counsel to submit the agreement in the court on next hearing.

Earlier, Advocate Azhar Siddique representing the petitioners said the Pak-China agreement was not transparent. He said the government did not even discuss the train project in the assembly. He alleged that the government used funds of other schemes like health and education sectors for the train project.

The counsel pointed out that the apex court had abolished many development projects in the past for being not approved by assemblies.

The bench adjourned further hearing for Tuesday (today) as the arguments were in progress.

Replies sought: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday heard two fresh petitions against the ban on exhibition of film Maalik and sought replies from the federal government and the censor board chairperson.

Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed and one Munir Ahmad had filed the petitions.

During a brief hearing, Sheraz Zaka advocate argued on behalf of Mr Rasheed that the film Maalik portrayed corrupt practices of politicians and its release transpired in the wake of Panama Leaks that further troubled the ruling class. He said the ban was in violation of citizens’ fundamental rights to know and freedom of expression.

Mr Zaka further argued that after the 18th Amendment, the subject of censorship had been vested in the provinces and the federal government could not ban the film on the basis of alleged threat to the integrity of the country. He said the impugned ban thwarted the attempts to revive the cinema industry of the country.

Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza heard the arguments and directed the respondents to submit replies by May 17.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2016

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