IHC tells govt not to ‘needlessly’ harass PTI activists

May 25, 2022

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said the SC has set rules in the Faizabad sit-in case and it should be followed

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The IHC building in Islamabad. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday directed the Capital police chief and the administration to ensure no PTI leader or worker was unnecessarily harassed.

During a hearing on the PTI’s petition against the ongoing countrywide crackdown and detentions of its activists ahead of its Azadi March, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said, "The SC has set rules in the Faizabad sit-in case and it should be followed."

The CJ said the court cannot interfere in Executive's work. He said this court had restrained the government from arresting (PTI) activists in 2014 after which parliament and PTV were attacked, and an SSP was beaten. Therefore, the CJ maintained, the court, being cautious, cannot issue an order. Who will be responsible if similar incidents occur again despite the court’s order, the CJ asked.

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During the course of the proceedings, the IHC CJ remarked: “Even in a law and order situation, the rules laid down by the SC should be followed.” At the outset of Tuesday’s hearing, Ali Zafar, PTI’s counsel, apprised the court that the government has launched a crackdown against the party since they filed the petition in court.

Moving on to PTI's Azadi March towards the federal capital, the judge said that they cannot give a blanket order as there are sensitive installations and embassies in the capital. When the hearing resumed after a short break, Barrister Zafar requested the court to restrict arrests related to the PTI's long march under its own authority. At this, Justice Minallah inquired if the party has submitted a request to the district administration.

Replying to the query, Barrister Zafar said that they had submitted a request to the district magistrate (DM) for the rally on May 25. The court directed adherence to the terms stated in the DC's permission.

While restricting the authorities from unnecessarily harassing the PTI workers, the court issued notices to the Islamabad inspector-general of police, chief commissioner and deputy commissioner. The IHC adjourned the hearing till May 27.

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