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Sunday May 26, 2024

Intelligence Bureau seeks to withdraw its plea against Faizabad sit-in verdict

"The petitioner intends to withdraw the civil review petition," reads petition

By Maryam Nawaz
September 26, 2023
Front facade of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — AFP/File
Front facade of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Intelligence Bureau (IB) on Tuesday filed an application in the Supreme Court, seeking to withdraw its review petition against the top court’s Faizabad sit-in verdict.

In the plea filed today, IB's Deputy Director Amjad Iqbal has requested the apex court to allow it to withdraw its review plea and accept the miscellaneous application.

"The petitioner intends to withdraw the civil review petition and does not want to pursue the matter in the above-titled case," said the plea.

Last week, the apex court — in response to a series of review petitions submitted against its previous ruling — said that it would revisit the Faizabad sit-in case on September 28.

A three-member bench, led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and consisting of Justices Amin-ud-Din Khan and Athar Minallah, will hear the review proceedings.

Following the decision to revisit the case, Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed's lawyer also filed a petition seeking the adjournment of the Faizabad sit-in verdict review case.

The petition said that Rashid was in custody and could not be contacted.

"Sheikh Rashid's lawyer Amanullah Kanrani has been appointed as a provincial law minister, hence, he cannot appear in the Faizabad sit-in case," read the plea.

This legal saga began on April 15, 2019, when the then-federal government, along with entities like the Defence Ministry, Intelligence Bureau, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government, AML chief, Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), among others, filed review pleas contesting the apex court's judgement.

Earlier on February 6, 2019, a two-member bench of the apex court comprising the now-CJP Isa and Justice Mushir Alam recommended that persons, issuing an edict or fatwa to harm another person or put another person in the harm’s way must be dealt with iron hand and prosecuted under relevant laws.

It also ruled that the intelligence agencies must not exceed their respective mandates. Later, the bench disposed of a suo moto case regarding the 2017 Faizabad sit-in staged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pak-is¬tan (TLP).

The 43-page verdict issued by the two-judge bench and published on the apex court's website read: "Every citizen and political party has the right to assemble and protest provided such assembly and protest is peaceful and complies with the law imposing reasonable restrictions in the interest of public order. The right to assemble and protest is circumscribed only to the extent that it infringes on the fundamental rights of others, including their right to free movement and to hold and enjoy property."

In November 2017, the top court took suo motu notice of the three-week-long sit-in, which was held against a change in the finality-of-Prophethood oath, termed by the government as a clerical error, when the government passed the Elections Act 2017. The sit-in was called off after the protesters reached an agreement with the government.