Gulf Today

Referee judge to decide Shahbaz’s bail matter

- Tariq Butt

LAHORE: Ater days of confusion, mystery and speculatio­n, it has now transpired that the mater of Pakistan Muslim League-nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif’s post-arrest bail will be decided by a referee judge to be appointed by Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan.

The two judges of a LHC bench have finally come up with a split decision on the bail petition and sent the mater to the chief justice for the nomination of a referee judge.

Justice Sardar Mohammad Sarfraz Dogar, who headed the bench, allowed the petition while its other member Justice Asjad Javed Ghural dismissed it. In his dissenting order,

Justice Ghural also accused the senior judge of issuing the bail granting short order “unilateral­ly.”

It is shocking for me to observe that it has been mentioned in the beginning paragraph of the [Dogar’s] order that unanimous order qua grant of bail to Shahbaz was announced, which is against the ground reality, said Justice Ghural.

In fact ater hearing the parties, when my learned brother sought my consent qua allowing the petition, I refused in the court whereupon the announceme­nt was deferred for consultati­on in the chamber where I again straightaw­ay refused but surprising­ly, my learned brother unilateral­ly announced his decision through his office boy granting bail to Shahbaz, he added in his dissenting note.

The judge mentioned that he had brought the situation to the notice of the LHC chief justice a few minutes later, but “my learned brother sent me the short order for signature for which he had no occasion at all.”

This is a very unfortunat­e and rare example in judicial history, which could not be expected from a senior member heading the division bench, said the dissenting judge.

Ater discussing the facts of the case, Justice Ghural observed that suffice is to say that sufficient incriminat­ing material is available on the record to connect Shahbaz with the alleged offence and thus, he is not entitled to the relief claimed for.

Justice Dogar in his order stated a unanimous order regarding grant of bail was announced but when the short order for Shahbaz’s release was placed before Justice Ghural for signature he disclosed that he intended to give his dissenting view.

“Therefore we are rendering separate orders and ater completion of the same, mater shall be placed before the chief justice for nomination of a referee judge,” said the senior member of the division bench.

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