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February 10, 2018

Faizabad sit-in: IHC warns officials of contempt if reports not submitted


February 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court expressed displeasure on Friday at the government's failure to submit responses on the Faizabad sit-in and the Senator Raja Zafar-ul-Haq-led committee report.

Hearing the sit-in violence case, Justice Siddiqui also showed his annoyance over the defence secretary's inability to submit report on the agreement between the protesters and the government and why the army chief’s name was mentioned in it.

Deputy Attorney General Arshad Kiyani said the report was not presented because one of the committee members hadn’t yet signed that. Furthermore, the court directed the defence secretary to resubmit the report at the next hearing.

The Intelligence Bureau DG was also present in court but failed to submit the required audio recording after which he was summoned again on Feb 12, the next date of hearing. The judge warned that contempt proceedings would be initiated against officials for not complying with court orders. "We will not allow brushing the matter under the carpet," the judge remarked.

Workers of a religious party had staged a protest against the government at Faizabad Interchange of Islamabad for around three weeks in November last year, bringing the capital to a standstill. A committee led by Zafar-ul Haq committee was formed to probe the issue of the amendment in the oath regarding the finality of prophethood when the Elections Act 2017 was passed last year.

The religious party was protesting against theamendment, which was later reversed by the government. The protest was called off after reaching an agreement with the government, which included the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

During the last hearing of the case on January 12, Justice Siddiqui had expressed displeasure over the respondents' failure to submit para-wise comments and report on the dharna and had directed the respondents to present the Raja Zafar-ul-Haq report

Justice Siddiqui on December 4 had ordered the defence secretary to probe who used the army chief's name in the agreement the report was not submitted, drawing the court's ire.

The attorney general had argued that since the matter was pending before the Supreme Court, the IHC may not proceed in the matter. However, Justice Siddiqui remarked that the apex court was only hearing the matter regarding the sit-in, which had no connection with the probe committee report.

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