Supreme Court rejects govt’s demand to halt PTI long march
Court stops short of issuing contempt of court notice to Imran Khan | CJP advises govt to hold talks with Imran
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Justice Yahya Afridi, one of the judges on the Supreme Court’s (SC) five-member bench hearing contempt of court petition against former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan, on Wednesday, in his remarks, said that Imran should be issued contempt of court notice, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Later giving the ruling after today’s hearing by four judges to one, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial, however, said that the remaining four judges on the bench had not agreed with Justice Afridi’s assertion; therefore, the court rejected the government’s request to immediately order the PTI not to go ahead with its long march on Islamabad.
Justice Bandial further said the court would not issue a notice to Imran in the case since it would give an impression as if contempt of court proceedings had been initiated against him.
The apex court instead directed Imran and his lawyers to submit their replies in the court in writing by October 31, 2022.
The CJP said that the bench, after going through all relevant record, had come to the conclusion that there was a need to reexamine the violation of affidavit by the former prime minister.
“Why is the court making things complicated for itself?” Justice Afridi questioned, and said that interim relief could not be granted in the contempt of court petition.
Addressing the additional attorney general (AAG), the CJP said the government could file a petition in the court separately if the situation worsened.
The additional attorney general, on the occasion, said that Imran, by asking his supporters to come to Islamabad’s D-Chowk during the PTI’s last long march on May 25, 2022, had violated the court orders, and, therefore, had committed contempt of court.
SC grants time to govt in case
The government, on the occasion, sought time from the court in the case, to which the court agreed.
The CJP further said that the petition against the PTI’s long march had become more effective since this was for the second time he was marching on Islamabad.
“The court is neither the country’s executive nor wants to become one,” he said, and in the same breath added, “However, the fact is that the right to protest could not be snatched from any individual or a political party. But the protest should be within legal limits.”
Justice Bandial further said that the court could only see to it that the rule of law was not compromised. “We can neither say that PTI’s strategy is good nor can call it bad,” he remarked.
He asked the government to take measures to maintain law and order during the march.
The chief justice asked the government to hold negotiations with Imran. “There are several other measures which the government could take other than imposing section 144,” Justice Bandial remarked.
The court later adjourned the hearing until next Monday.
Reporter: Amanat Gishkori