LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday declared illegal the shifting of three sugar mills owned by the Sharif family.
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 in the high court.
Tareen had said the mills, located in the South Punjab region, were shifted in violation of court orders and the government’s own relocation policy of 2015.
In May, the bench had reserved its verdict on shifting of the three sugar mills after counsel for all parties involved concluded their arguments.
Chaudhry Sugar Mills (Rahim Yar Khan), Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills (Muzaffargarh) and Ittefaq Sugar Mills (Bahawalpur) had filed intra court appeals (ICAs) challenging the decision of a single bench that declared their shifting to other districts illegal.
Hearing the ICAs, the bench comprising Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Shujaat Ali Khan had ordered sealing of the three sugar mills for their shifting to new locations in violation of stay orders. The bench had also issued contempt of court notices to CEOs of the mills.
Tareen’s counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan argued that new mills were established under the garb of relocation.
He told the court that the relocation policy for sugar mills announced by the provincial government in 2015 was based on mala fide intention.
“Environmental laws were also ignored in shifting of the mills,” he said, adding that the appellant mills had been shifted in cotton growing areas, which would damage the cotton industry.
On the other side, the lawyers of the appellant-mills defended the shifting saying the whole process was within the law. They said no violation of any law was made by the appellants.