Friday January 27, 2023

IHC reserves judgment on PTI’s plea against Section 144

PTI had moved the IHC requesting it to declare the imposition of Section 144 in Islamabad unconstitutional

October 10, 2022
Islamabad High Court building. — IHC website
Islamabad High Court building. — IHC website

ISLAMABAD: The IHC  reserved on Monday its judgment on PTI’s petition challenging the federal government’s powers relating to the imposition of Section 144 ahead of the party’s expected long march to the federal capital.

It is pertinent to mention here that the federal government had hinted at imposing Section 144 to cope with the proposed long march of the PTI. On Saturday, PTI senior leader and former federal minister Asad Umar moved the IHC, requesting it to declare the imposition of Section 144 in Islamabad unconstitutional.

He was of the view that the imposition of Section 144 to prevent peaceful protest is “unconstitutional”.  

Today’s proceedings

At the outset of today’s hearing, Babar Awan, PTI’s counsel, argued that the use of Section 144 to prevent a peaceful protest is unconstitutional.

Opposing the law, the PTI counsel said that the British-era law is being exercised today.

“Section 144 cannot be enforced for two consecutive days or more than seven days in a month,” argued Awan.

At this, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah inquired how his client is an affected party and has his client been stopped from doing something.

“We cannot hold a rally [in Islamabad] in this situation,” he replied.

“There is a procedure to hold a rally. Permission is required for it,” replied Justice Minallah.

The IHC CJ noted, “The matter of law and order has to be seen by the executive, in which the court will never interfere. This party has governments in two provinces, he said and asked if Section 144 had never been imposed there.

“Did Section 144 not get imposed in Islamabad during PTI’s rule?” asked Justice Minallah.

At this, the lawyer said that the petition was filed by a former MNA but not a political party.

“This is not a petition of a former MNA, the petitioner is still a member of the National Assembly,” the judge replied.

Meanwhile, the court reserved its judgment and adjourned the proceedings.