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‘Whatsapp Message’ Stops Rana Sanaullah’s Case Proceedings Midway

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A judge presiding over the case of PML-N lawmaker Rana Sanaullah stopped halfway through the hearing after he was notified that he had been repatriated to the Lahore High Court.

Earlier, journalist Mubashir Zaidi shared a tweet detailing what had transpired in the court. During the hearing, Justice Masood Arshad informed the court of a Whatsapp message he had received that the Lahore High Court had repatriated him and that his services in this case were not required anymore.

Following this incident, it came to light that the Ministry of Law and Justice had issued a notification, dated August 26, which recalled three judges.

The concerned judges include Justice Mushtaq Elahi, Justice Naeem Arshad, and Justice Masood Arshad. All the three judges are involved in cases of the Sharif family.

Justice Naeem Arshad was presiding over the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case against Maryam Nawaz, the Ramzan Sugar Mills case against former chief minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif, and money laundering cases against Shehbaz’s son and son-in-law. Justice Mushtaq Elahi was also on the benches of certain accountability cases.

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The notification has not mentioned any reason for the judges’ repatriation. Rana Sanaullah’s lawyer has called this ‘unprecedented’. In talks with media, he claimed that the government apparently was trying to decide which judge they wanted the verdict from.

Meanwhile, the judge reportedly stated that he would have announced the verdict had he not been recalled.

The judge being notified through a Whatsapp message has not been taken lightly. Though a formal notification had been issued in this regard, the fact that the judge was made to cut the proceedings midway through a Whatsapp message and not a formal order before or during the hearing has been criticised. This was conveyed by a Twitter user under the hashtag, ‘Whatsapp justice unacceptable’, which is currently the top trend on Twitter in Pakistan right now.

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