PTI Azadi March: IHC bars govt from harassing party workers

Web Desk
May 24, 2022

“Even in the law and order situation, the rules laid down by the SC should be followed,” remarks Justice Minallah

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Islamabad High Court (IHC). — IHC website/File

ISLAMABAD: As the government gears up to stop the PTI’s Azadi March towards the federal capital, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered the authorities not to harass the party workers.

The IHC took up the PTI’s petition after raids at the residences of the PTI leaders in multiple cities including Karachi and Lahore where, according to the PTI, hundreds of its workers have been detained. A police constable also lost his life during a raid at a PTI leader's house in Lahore.

PTI’s leader Aamir Kiani had moved the IHC against the ongoing countrywide crackdown and detentions of its activists ahead of the Azadi March.

During the course of the proceedings, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah ordered IG Islamabad, the chief commissioner and the deputy commissioner to ensure that nobody should be harassed unnecessarily.

Justice Minallah asked the PTI’s counsel if they have submitted an application to the district administration for the rally’s permission. At this, Barrister Ali Zafar replied they had submitted an application about the May 25 rally to the district magistrate.

Earlier, the judge remarked that the court cannot issue an order on the basis of mere concerns or fear.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked, “Even in the law and order situation, the rules laid down by the SC should be followed.”

At the outset of today’s hearing, Barrister Ali Zafar apprised the court that the government has launched a crackdown against the party after they filed the petition in the court.

“It is a classic case of violation of fundamental rights,” argued Ali Zafar.

He said the rules set by the SC are not being followed.

At this, Justice Minallah remarked, “The SC has set rules in [Faizabad] sit-in case and these should be followed.” He added the court can say that the SC’s judgment should be implemented in letter and spirit.

About the “hurdles being created to stop” the PTI Azadi March, the judge said that they cannot give a blanket order as there are sensitive installations and embassies in the capital.

The PTI’s lawyer pleaded with the court, “We want the court to stop the detentions [of PTI’s workers]."

The parliament and the PTV buildings were attacked after this court had stopped the authorities from detentions in 2014, remarked Justice Minallah.

An SSP rank officer was subjected to torture during the attacks and the incident had challenged the writ of the state, stated the judge.

Who will be responsible if the entire episode is repeated after the court’s order, asked the judge. He said the court is very careful then.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till May 27.

PTI moves LHC

Meanwhile, the PTI moved the LHC against the expected torture of the participants of the long march and detentions of its workers.

At the outset of today’s hearing, the petitioner’s counsel apprised the court that police raids were conducted to stop the party’s long march.

At this, Justice Chauhdry Abdul Aziz remarked, “The same has been happening in the PTI government. What do you want?”

He said the PTI took the same actions against TLP, PML-N and JUI-F. The judge said that whenever a party comes into power, it starts such actions against others.

The PTI’s lawyer requested the court to issue an order to remove all the obstacles placed on the route of their long march. The counsel also requested the court to order the government to stop police actions against the party workers and illegal cases should not be registered against the activists.

Meanwhile, the judge sought reports from IG Punjab and the chief secretary in this regard and adjourned the hearing till tomorrow.

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