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January 13, 2018

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Faizabad Dharna case; Don’t force us to summon PM: Justice Siddiqui

ISLAMABAD: While hearing the petitions against the Faizabad Dharna of Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), the Islamabad High Court expressed dissatisfaction over non-submission of para-wise comments and report from the ministry of defence and other respondents.

An IHC bench comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui remarked: “Don't force us to summon the prime minister in this matter.”

It summoned Director General (DG) Intelligence Bureau (IB), secretaries law, interior, defence, chief commissioner Islamabad and Inspector General Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police on the next date of hearing on February 9.

It also directed the respondents to submit the report of Raja Zafarul Haq Committee that was formed to probe the issue of amendment in the oath regarding Khatm-e-Nabuwwat. In November-December, TLP staged sit-in at Faizabad interchange virtually blocking the whole city. After intervention of the court, an operation was launched that resulted in causalities of protesters and police.

Protesters were demanding resignation of the law minister Zahid Hamid and imposition of penalties to the responsible who amended the oath. Justice Siddiqui in December 4 order had directed secretary ministry of defense to probe the matter that who used name of the Chief of Army Staff in a disputed agreement that was signed by federal government with the protesters. However, the report was not submitted at which court expressed its resentment.

On the last hearing, attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) had argued before the court that since the matter is pending before Supreme Court, this court may not proceed in this matter.

Justice Siddiqui had noted, "Order passed by the august Supreme Court clearly suggests that although some issues raised through these petitions do not find mention in order of the Supreme Court, however, in utter respect and great reverence to the proceedings pending before the Supreme Court, it would be appropriate that till final decision by Supreme Court, no substantive order may be passed by this court".

The deputy attorney general once again argued that the matter is pending adjudication before the Supreme Court and this court may not proceed in this matter. At this, Justice Siddiqui said that Supreme Court is only hearing matter regarding Dharna, which has no connection with Raja Zafar-ul-Haq committee report.

Previously also, the IHC bench had said that the petition of Maulana Allah Wasaya is entirely different who has been contending before the court that an amendment was made in election act 2017 (EA-2017) and on hue and cry of the entire nation another amendment to the act was brought on October 19, 2017 through which sections 7B and 7C of the conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 have been revived.

In a previous orders, Justice Siddiqui had not only expressed resentment over the issue that why protesters were not confined at Democracy Park & Speech Corner that is a designated place for such activities. Regarding blockage of roads, Justice Siddiqui had said “leadership of Dharna, prima facie, involved in act of terrorism”. IHC bench had also declared Dharna an anti-state activity.

About objectives of Dharna, the bench had noted, “It is made clear that faith on Khatm-e-Nabuwwat is of every Muslim and few persons cannot be allowed to claim exclusive right for its protection.” About the possibility of intelligence agencies backing that Dharna, Justice Siddiqui had noted “there is serious need for our sensitive institutions to dispel this impression that activity of Faizabad Interchange (Dharna) is sponsored by the Intelligence Agencies”.

Next hearing of this matter would be on February 9.

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