The Lahore High Court Lahore being the oldest
institution in Asia, has always taken initiative in redressing grievances of the
public at large, battling human rights breaches, and addressing great questions
of tomorrow. In the similar fashion, it has, lately, gone an extra mile helping
ensure the speedy disposal of overseas Pakistani litigations through innumerable
policy initiatives taken in this connection, including and not limited to marking
of cases to special judges, setting a fixed time limit to conclude matters pending
adjudications, operationalization of awareness outlets eg. "Sahulat Centre" (2016)
so on and so forth. The importance of overseas Pakistanis can well be estimated
by the fact that they are as much a citizen of Pakistan as anyone else is, and if
report of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development is something
to go by about 7.6 million Pakistanis are living abroad and are a great source of
funneling huge amount of remittances back home, constituting a substantial chunk
of economic backbone of Pakistan. Therefore, annexing paramount importance to the
question of overseas litigants, the recent giant leap, in this regard, has been
a momentous decision taken by the then Hon'ble Chief Justice Mr. Justice Sardar
Muhammad Shamim Khan with reference to the establishment of an Overseas Pakistanis
Cell-LHC, to operate under the supervision of a Director, Secretary
and support staff for resolution of problems of Expatriate Pakistanis regarding
the pendency of litigation in the largest Province of Pakistan i.e. Punjab.
Special Benches at the level of High Court, comprising
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan (Criminal Matters), Hon’ble Mr. Justice
Shujaat Ali Khan (Civil and Constitutional Matters), Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ch. Muhammad
Masood Jahangir (Civil Matters) & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Jawad Hassan (Constitutional,
Commercial & Foreign Awards Matters) have also been constituted by the Hon’ble Chief
Justice and nominated their lordships as notified Special Judges to deal with all
the pending cases pertaining to overseas Pakistanis.
It is worth mentioning here that Hon'ble Mr.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, the then Hon'ble Chief Justice of this Court had
also taken keen and practical interest in resolving problems of Overseas Pakistanis
series of meetings with the Governor, Punjab, Overseas Pakistanis
Commission and other stake-holders to identify issues and find their solution. As
a result of this, a window was opened for the Overseas Pakistanis in the already
established "Sahulat Center" at the Directorate of District Judiciary.
The Cell shall take care of following aspects of the cases of Overseas Pakistanis:-
- Illegal possession of their properties in Punjab or any threats thereof;
- An inordinate delay in decision of cases;
- Frauds regarding properties purchased by them;
- Inability to pursue their court cases from abroad and hurdles in employing
- A webpage in the existing official website of Lahore High Court to be
created for dissemination of objectives of the Cell, extending information to the
overseas litigants regarding the current status of their cases and its functioning
- An online web portal to be developed to address the queries of the overseas
litigants in this connection to the extent of Lahore High Court, Lahore. The Director
and the Secretary of the Cell shall maintain a constant liaison and interaction
with the Overseas Pakistani litigants in order to facilitate them. In this regard,
IT Branch-LHC shall extend its complete support to the cell, whenever needed.
- The Overseas Pakistanis while visiting Pakistan may also in person approach
the director or secretary of the cell to seek any kind of information or help, as
the case may be. Their Counsels/Representatives/ Relatives living in Pakistan will
also be facilitated accordingly at the cell regarding litigational issue.
- The Telephone help-line, in addition to the online facility, will also
be established at the cell for the provision of speedy information;
- The complaints with regard to fixation or early disposal of their cases
at Lahore High court will be redressed promptly by the Hon'ble Special Judge, nominated
in this behalf in conjunction with the coordination of "OPC-LHC".