LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Thursday once again summoned Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal for his ‘anti-judiciary remarks’ he gave after the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar observed about his (minister) role in appointment of vice-chancellor at a local university.

A full bench led by Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi passed the order while hearing a multiple petitions against alleged anti-judiciary speeches. 

Justice Naqvi asked Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, the counsel of the minister, about his client that when he was appearing before the court who replied that currently the minister had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra and would appear before the court on the next hearing.

“He (the minister) has enough time to hold press conferences but he has no time to appear before the court,” the bench observed. On it, Advocate Tarar said that the minister would appear before the court on the next date of hearing.   After assurance of the respondent’s counsel, the court put off further hearing until May 30.

Earlier, the bench had ordered the minister to appear in person on May 7 but he was shot injured in a life attempt made on him when he in Narowal, his constituency, just a day before the hearing in Lahore High Court.

In separate but similar case of parliamentarians who took out rally against the judiciary in Kasur, the bench directed the prosecution to produce witnesses against the contemnors’ including PML-N MNA Waseem Akhtar, MPA Naeem Safdar, municipal chairman Ayaz Khan, vice-chairman Ahmad Latif, Nasir Khan, Jamil Khan.  The court adjourned hearing until May 29.

On the last hearing, Jamil Khan and Nasir Khan tendered their written unconditional apology while others decided to contest the proceedings against them. The respondents’ counsel pleaded the court for  provision of the CDs of the rally’s videos and all other relevant material. At this, the bench directed its staff to supply all the relevant record to the lawyers of the accused.

Regarding an application against Pemra, the bench gave more time to the authority to submit reply.

The same bench is also hearing petitions against alleged anti-judiciary speeches by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and also against the MQM London chief for his alleged anti-state speeches.

Bails: A Lahore High Court division bench Thursday granted till May 29 interim bail to MNA Waseem Akhtar, MPA Naeem Safdar and two others accused of staging an anti-judiciary rally in Kasur.  Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi passed the order on bail petitions of the accused. The bench directed the suspects to deposit surety bonds of Rs 100,000 each and barred the police from arresting them.

 On Wednesday, an anti-terrorism court had refused to extend the interim bail previously granted to the suspects and withdrew the relief