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Sunday December 04, 2022

Trust in political parties undermined: CJP

The CJP said judges are not here to accuse anyone, adding job is not to exercise executive powers but to protect constitutional rights of the people and save them from government assault

By News Desk & Our Correspondent
May 27, 2022
Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Umer Ata Bandial. Photo: The News/File
 Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Umer Ata Bandial. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umer Ata Bandial, has said trust in political parties has been undermined following Wednesday’s events.

The CJP made these remarks while dismissing the petitions filed by the AGP and Islamabad High Court Bar Association. He was heading the bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.

The CJP said whatever happened was regrettable, adding since political temperatures were high, interference was not appropriate. He said that 'we are not here to accuse anyone', adding that their job is not to exercise executive powers but to protect constitutional rights of the people and save them from government assault.

Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial said that a written order in the matter would be issued later on, adding that the court had passed Wednesday’s order for the protection of constitutional rights of the people. He held that the court’s order passed earlier restraining the authorities from making illegal and unjustified arrests of people would remain intact.

The CJP said that their commitment was to the Constitution, adding that law will take its course in case of any violation. It is pertinent to mention that Attorney-General Ashter Ausaf had filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking an appropriate order. He submitted that the PTI leadership had violated the court’s order and their march on the capital and provincial metropolitan cities was likely to inflame the already polarised and charged atmosphere. He further submitted that Imran Khan had not only abused the process of the court but also misdirected the people of Pakistan through his utterances.

Arguing before the court, Attorney-General Ashter Ausaf submitted that Imran Khan contrary to the court’s order had incited the public through his speeches to reach the D-Chowk despite the fact that the court had allowed him to hold a rally on the Srinagar Highway. In this respect, a video clip of Imran Khan’s speech was also run in the court. The AGP said that the court had allowed the former prime minister to hold a rally on the assurance that it would be peaceful but in his message he had asked the workers to reach D-Chowk.

The CJP said that the court had issued the order only on violation of constitutional rights, adding that may be Imran Khan didn’t get the right message. "It was learnt that severe shelling was going on and some people also got injured," the CJP said, adding that the court’s order was meant for striking a balance between the parties.

The CJP said that the PTI had conducted some 33 public meetings and all were peaceful and it was expected that the party leadership would be cautious of its responsibilities. The AGP said that the protesters had set trees on fire and caused millions of loss to public properties, adding that such incidents earn the country a bad name. He said that the protesters had injured 31 policemen by pelting stones while fire brigades and bullet-proof vehicles were also set on fire.

He said that the court’s order had been flouted and the party had acted against the undertaking given to the court. He asked if it was not violative of the court’s order. The CJP said that the people who had thronged the D-Chowk were without the leadership, adding that the people resorted to setting trees on fire to save themselves from tear gas. "Only the leadership could have controlled the crowd which was not there at D-Chowk," the CJP said, adding that the actual situation relates to differences hence they will examine all these points and issue such an order, which will be an example for future.

The CJP said that one part of the order was related to the talks between the government and PTI and added the court had also ordered both the parties to initiate a dialogue and find out an amicable solution to the matter. The CJP said that the court had issued the order for protection of the people’s rights, adding that the court had played its role as a mediator. He said that the court had issued a balanced order and tried to restore the confidence of the parties.

"The court cannot exercise executive powers and wants to limits itself,” he said, adding that it had held in its order that public properties should not be damaged and roads should not be blocked.

The AGP said that Imran Khan had threatened to come back again after six days if the government did not dissolve the assemblies and announce the date for fresh elections. "We are not here to blame anyone but to protect the constitutional rights of the people," the CJP said, adding that the people have rights in the Constitution under articles 15, 16 and 17 but it is also their responsibility to abide by the Constitution and law. He said that whatever had happened they had concern on that, adding that they had tried their best to move one step forward just to resolve the matter in the best interest of the country.

The AGP said that the government had provided protection to PTI public meetings but their workers had injured some 31 policemen and set fire-brigade vehicles on fire for which the army was called out. "But whatever had happened has ended now," the chief justice said and left the courtroom without passing any order.

The court disposed of the petition filed by Ashter Ausaf as well as that of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association.

Earlier, when the three-member bench, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen, resumed hearing on the petition of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association, the AGP raised the matter of violations committed by the PTI of the court’s order. Justice Ijazul Ahsen said that a larger bench would take up the matter.

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