SC asks both PTI, admin to select march venue other than Srinagar Highway

Court questions, “Will the whole country be shut down for every protest?”

By: News Desk
Published: 02:53 PM, 25 May, 2022
SC asks both PTI, admin to select march venue other than Srinagar Highway
Caption: Representational image.
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While hearing the petition against roads blockage and police raids to stop the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) march on Islamabad, the Supreme Court (SC) has asked both the Islamabad administration and the PTI to select a venue of the party’s sit-in other than Srinagar Highway.

Earlier, the court had given time to the attorney general to seek directions from the government to submit a reply and also summoned the interior secretary, chief commissioner, commissioner and IG Islamabad police.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan while hearing the case remarked, “A state of emergency has been declared in all hospitals; schools and transport are closed; the country is at a critical juncture economically and is on the verge of bankruptcy. Will the whole country be shut down for every protest?”

He added, “All exams have been postponed; roads and businesses have been closed.”

“I don’t know the details. Give me time to get information,” replied Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf.

“Attorney General Sahib! Aren’t you aware of the situation in the country?” questioned Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, adding: “Half of the SC’s staff could not reach the office due to roads blockage.”

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that the country’s economy was on the brink of collapse at which the attorney general requested him to refrain from remarks on economy.

“Your Lordship! The remarks that you pass here reach out to major financial institutions,” said the attorney general at which Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked: “Media reports are available, and every person is aware of the situation in the country.”

Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf said, “You may be referring to media reports regarding closure of schools. Not every media report is accurate.”

Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi said, “Official notifications have been issued for closure of schools and postponement of examinations.”

Also, Justice Ijazul Ahsan pointed out: “Basically, the government is trying to stop life itself.”

On the SC’s judges remarks about closure of schools and roads, the attorney general said that everyone had the right to peaceful protest but a threat of bloody march had been conveyed.

“I am basically against the closure of roads. But, measures to protect lives and property of the people are essential. Roads’ closures should be seen within context,” said Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that a place had been allotted in the past too for a protest march, adding as per the media reports, the PTI had applied for a permission to protest.”

“Let me know from the administration what was decided on the application,” said the attorney general.

On the occasion, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Bar Association President Shoaib Shaheen told the court that police were breaking into the houses of lawyers too and arresting them.

“The house of former judge Nasira Javed was raided by police last night,” said Shoaib Shaheen, adding that both the protesters and the government were bound to act according to the Constitution and the law.

“No one has the right to take the law into their own hands,” remarked Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

“How can armed men be allowed to protest?” the attorney general raised a question.

“Where did the armed men come from when the protest has not started yet? Maulana Fazlur Rehman has twice called a sit-in on Srinagar Highway. Bilawal Bhutto has also organised a long march in Islamabad. The protesters can still be allotted a venue for their public meeting,” said IHC Bar Association President Shoaib Shaheen.

“Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that the whole country should be closed for protest,” remarked Justice Ijazul Ahsan to which the attorney general replied: “Nowhere in the Constitution is it stated that armed people should not be stopped.”

At this, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said, “If there are armed people, the law-enforcement agencies will look into it.”

Reporter: Amanat Gishkori

Categories : Pakistan