LAHORE - Observing that the chairperson has to be changed, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of the Lahore on Tuesday gave two-day time to the federal government to submit a lawful and transparent mechanism for new appointment of chairperson/head of Prime Minister Youth Loan Programme.

Justice Shah urged the federal government to bring an in house change, subject to law, about the appointment of PMYLP on next hearing.  

He was hearing a petition challenging the appointment of Maryam Nawaz as chairperson of the youth loan programme filed by PTI leader Zubair Khan Niazi.

As the proceedings commenced, a law officer representing the federal government appeared in the court and presented the academic credentials of Maryam Nawaz. He told the judge that Maryam was holding MA (English Literature) and PhD degree in Political Science. When Justice Shah asked the law officer whether PhD degree of Maryam was actual or it was an honorary degree, the law officer requested the court to withdraw the details saying that he had collected all this information from the internet.

Arguing over the appointment, the law officer said that the office of the chairperson was not a public office but a sort of focal person.  He contended that the chairperson’s post did not affect the disbursement of the funds, on it the judge asked him whether a cook could be appointed as focal person in the name of PM prerogative.

After an interval, the proceedings started again and the law officer pleaded the court that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was on an official visit to Germany and would return on Thursday (tomorrow). He further pleaded the court to adjourn the proceedings until the arrival of the PM as the point of view of the chief executive was essential in the court’s query.

However, petitioner’s counsel opposed the adjournment request submitting that the matter was of great public interest. The judge accepted the plea of the law officer and adjourned further proceedings until November 14.

Previously, Petitioner Zubair Khan said that the appointment of Maryam Nawaz Sharif was made on the basis of nepotism. He said no notice or advertisement was given in any newspaper for the appointment on the said post. It was sheer violation of the fundamental rights. He prayed the court to set aside the appointment of Maryam Nawaz as chairperson of PMYLP.

REPLY SOUGHT FROM ECP: The Lahore High Court Tuesday sought reply from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and heads of Pakistan Muslim League-N, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulama-i-Islam (F) for not holding intra-party elections.

Advocate Gohar Nawaz Sindhu, senior vice president of PTI Lawyers wing-Punjab, had filed the petition submitting that the respondent political parties did not hold intra-party elections and elected their heads through bogus polling. He contended that the parties violated Political Parties Order 2002 by not holding intra-party election.

The petitioner requested the court to restrain Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman from heading their respective parties and direct ECP  not to allocate election symbols to the respondents.

After hearing initial arguments of the petitioner’s counsel, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of the LHC sought replied from the respondents by December 10.