LHC seeks reply from parties on Model Town report case

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Model Town incident

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday heard various petitions regarding a court order directing the publication of a judicial commission’s report on the 2014 Model Town tragedy.
A full bench of the court, headed by Abid Aziz Shaikh, is hearing the applications, which include an intra-court appeal filed by the provincial government against the release of the report.
During the hearing of the intra-court appeal, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)’s counsels, Ali Zaffar and Azhar Siddique, raised objections to the appointment of Khawaja Haris as the counsel for the Punjab government. They argued that Haris was a private counsel and was therefore not eligible to present arguments on behalf of the government, as the apex court had already barred private counsels from representing the government in courts.
“How can the Advocate General’s office hire a private counsel in this scenario,” they asked, remarking that the AG’s office should tell the court in writing that “not a single lawyer in its office is capable to represent the government in court.”
In response, Khawaja Haris said that the matter is pending before the provincial law secretary. Subsequently, the court ordered Haris to continue his arguments but also submit an approval order from the secretary to continue arguing on the Punjab government’s behalf.
He argued that the single bench that had ordered the release of the Justice Baqir Najfi commission’s report had compromised several legal requirements, and its decision should thus be declared the order null and void.
The court directed Haris to continue his arguments in the next hearing on Tuesday.
The counsel for the PAT, Raey Bashir, also asked the court to appoint a separate bench for the hearing of the petition against the decision of the anti-terrorism court on the Model Town killings, upon which the bench referred the matter to the chief justice of the LHC.

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