The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday termed the relocation of sugar mills to southern Punjab as illegal and ordered that Ittefaq Suger Mills, Chaudhry Sugar Mills and Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills — all owned by members of the Sharif family — should be shifted back to central Punjab within two months.
The sugar mills were relocated from central Punjab to the southern region of the province after the former provincial government amended a 2006 notification — that banned the establishment of new sugar mills and the expansion and relocation of the existing ones — in 2015.
In 2016, former PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen had challenged the relocation of mills before the Lahore High Court which declared the relocation illegal in its ruling issued last year.
The mill owners, however, had challenged the LHC verdict in the top court, where it was heard by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
Earlier this year, Justice Nisar had ordered that the mills stay in their current location until the cane crushing season is over. Now that the season is over, the chief justice, in a short order issued on Thursday, said that the mills be relocated to their original locations in central Punjab within two months.
The buildings of the mills, which will be vacated after the relocation, should not be demolished and instead used for any other purpose, the top judge said.