ISLAMABAD :The Supreme court (SC) on Wednesday directed the government to immediately fill posts lying vacant in the accountability courts. A two-member SC bench comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah issued these directions while hearing a petitioner filed by the government against the Lahore High Court (LHC) order letting Leader of the Opposition and President PML-N Shahbaz Sharif to travel abroad. LHC had granted one-time permission to former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif to go abroad on medical grounds, after which the government moved the Supreme Court to have the decision declared null and void. During the course of proceedings, the Registrar Lahore High Court (LHC) submitted the record of the case before the bench. He informed that the case was heard a day after the reservations pertaining to Shahbaz Sharif’s leaving the country plea were dismissed. Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan asked, was Shehbaz Sharif’s case heard as per the usual system or through a special process? The registrar replied that the high court decided to hear the government’s reservations and Sharif’s petition on the same day, therefore the reservations were raised on Friday at 9:30 am and proceedings into the case began at 11:00 am the same day. Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan observed that the government’s law officer was provided only 30 minutes to seek instructions and inquired about the number of hearings held, in the past one year, on Fridays at noon? The registrar said that the LHC had not even inquired as to which list Sharif’s name had been included to. He asked in how many other cases was one-sided relief provided? He also asked could such a general order be issued as the Lahore High Court did? The federal government during the hearing withdrew its petition against the Lahore High Court’s decision allowing Shahbaz Sharif to leave abroad. The counsel for Shehbaz Sharif said that his client would not pursue contempt of court proceedings against institutions for not letting him go abroad. SC directs immediate appointments on vacant posts of accountability courts. The court also opined that the manner in which Shahbaz Sharif was provided relief in this case could not become a precedent. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked how could the movement of a suspect in an ongoing criminal case be restricted? The attorney general said that the government had not made any accusations in its appeal against the LHC’s verdict. He expressed concern that the LHC’s decision would set a precedent for future cases as well, saying that Shahbaz Sharif’s trial judge was transferred by the high court. The counsel for Shahbaz Sharif asked what was the problem with appointing a new judge of the accountability court? The Attorney General said that it took three to four months to appoint a new judge, implying that there could be a possibility that Shahbaz Sharif did not want to conclude his case and that the government objected to the manner in which the judge was removed prematurely. The LHC Registrar said that names have been forwarded for appointment of new judges. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked did the government object to the new names? The Attorney General said that he had no knowledge of the government’s objections to new names. The court after hearing arguments disposed of the case over withdrawal of petition.