LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) declared the shifting of three sugar mills owned by the Sharif family illegal on Monday.
The bench, headed by LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, ordered that the Ittefaq, Haseeb Waqas and Chaudhry sugar mills be moved back within three months. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and JDW Sugar Mills owner Jahangir Tareen had challenged the shifting of the sugar mills.
Tareen had said the mills, located in the South Punjab region, were shifted in violation of earlier court orders and the government’s own relocation policy of 2015. The LHC had reserved its verdict in the case in May this year after all concerned parties had concluded their arguments.
PML-N lawyer Advocate Salman Akram Raja had earlier claimed that the single bench was misled on the issue as a 2006 notification of industries department, relied upon by the petitioners before the single bench, did not put any bar on relocating of existing sugar mills but only setting up new ones.
Tareen’s lawyer, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, argued that the relocation of old mills in the southern region of Punjab is similar to setting up new mills and is therefore, illegal. He pleaded that new mills in the area will result in water shortage which will affect the production of cotton crops.
Ittefaq Sugar Mills are located in Bahawalpur, Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills in Muzaffargarh and Chaudhry Sugar Mills in Rahim Yar Khan.
In March, the LHC had ordered immediate sealing of Haseeb Waqas and Chaudhry Sugar Mills for shifting the mills to new locations in violation of stay orders issued by the court. Ittefaq Sugar Mills was not sealed as its counsel Salman Akram Raja was not present in the court at the time. INP