Cellphone service suspension: SHC issues notice to PTA chairman, others
KARACHI, Nov 19: The Sindh High Court on Monday put on notice the information technology and telecom secretary and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman in a petition seeking court directives against the suspension of cellular services.
A division bench, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, which was seized with the petition of cellular company Telenor Pakistan, also put the federal law officer on notice and called for the comments of the respondents on the matter.
The petitioner company, represented by Advocate Aijaz Shaikh, submitted in the petition that the cellular phone services could only be suspended through an order in the exercise of power under Section 54(3) of the Telecom Act, 1996, and the exercise of that power was subjected to the condition that a proclamation of the emergency was issued by the President of Pakistan.
The counsel submitted that the power of suspension of cellular phone services could not be exercised as the emergency was not proclaimed by the president on any occasion.
He contended that the suspension of the phone services was illegal and had no validity under the law, as it was a violation of rights of the petitioner guaranteed under Articles 4, 18, 23 and 24 of the Constitution.
The petitioner submitted that the company suffered huge losses due to the suspension of cellular services and prayed to the court to direct the respondents to pay compensation to it.It was also prayed to the court that the respondents be restrained from suspending the mobile service except in accordance with Section 54(3) of the Pakistan Telecom Act 1996 and they be directed to pay compensation.
Factory owners’ bail case
A single bench headed by Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi issued notice to the prosecutor general of Sindh on a bail application of the owners of the garment factory in the Baldia fire case.
At least 289 people had died in the factory fire on Sept 11.
In their application, the factory owners, Arshad Abuld Aziz and Shahid Abdul Aziz, submitted that the story of prosecution and evidence on the record was full of contradictions.
They stated that it was the professional duty of police to gather initial information for the investigation, but they failed to collect and secure the relevant pieces of evidence that was their professional duty. Instead, the applicants said, the police waited for a day to register an FIR of the incident and later incorporated distorted facts into it.
They submitted that the version recorded in the FIR was motivated and pre-conceived, and later every effort was made only to strengthen the version instead of bringing the truth on the record.
The applicants also stated that the police tried to withhold every shred of evidence that was in their favour.
They submitted that were harassed and put behind the bars and that they were unable to defend themselves.
They prayed to the court to release them on bail so that they could defend themselves properly. The hearing was adjourned to Nov 22.
Details of assets sought
A division bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, directed the factory owners to submit details of their properties and assets within four days.
Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (PILER), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and other non-government organisations had moved the court to seek judicial probe into the factory inferno.
The petitioners had sought constitution of a judicial commission to fix responsibility for the incident and suggest monetary compensation to legal heirs of the fire victims.