PTI counsel argues police crackdown is a classic case of violation of fundamental rights
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered police and the administration to stop harassing PTI leaders and workers following a crackdown by the Punjab police last night.
During a hearing on PTI’s petition against the ongoing countrywide crackdown and detentions of its activists ahead of its Azadi March, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that the court cannot issue orders on the basis of mere concerns or fear.
The IHC heard the case after raids at the residences of the PTI leaders in multiple cities, including Karachi and Lahore where, according to the PTI, hundreds of its workers were detained across the country. A police constable also lost his life during a raid at a PTI leader's house in Lahore.
During the course of the proceedings, the IHC CJ remarked: “Even in a law and order situation, the rules laid down by the SC should be followed.”
At the outset of today’s hearing, Ali Zafar, PTI’s counsel, apprised the court that the government has launched a crackdown against the party since they filed the petition in court.
“It is a classic case of violation of fundamental rights,” argued Ali Zafar.
He said the rules set by the SC are not being followed.
At this, Justice Minallah remarked, “The SC has set rules in [the Faizabad] sit-in case and it should be followed.” He added the court can say that the SC’s judgment should be followed.
Moving on to PTI's Azadi March towards the federal capital, the judge said that they cannot give a blanket order as there are sensitive installations and embassies in the capital.
When the hearing resumed after a short break, Barrister Ali Zafar requested the court to restrict arrests related to PTI's long march under its own authority.
At this, Justice Minallah inquired if the party has submitted a request to the district administration.
Replying to the query, Barrister Zafar said that they had submitted a request to the district magistrate for the rally on May 25.
While restricting the authorities from harassing the PTI workers, the court issued notices to the Islamabad inspector-general of police, chief commissioner and deputy commissioner.
The IHC adjourned the hearing till May 27.
Meanwhile, the PTI also moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the expected torture of the participants of the long march and detentions of its workers.
At the outset of today’s hearing in LHC, the petitioner’s counsel apprised the court that police raids were conducted to stop the party’s long march.
At this, Justice Chauhdry Abdul Aziz remarked: “The same has been happening in the PTI government. What do you want?”
He said the PTI took the same action against TLP, PML-N and JUI-F. The judge said that whenever a party comes into power, it starts such action against others.
The PTI’s lawyer requested the court to issue an order to remove all the obstacles placed on the route of their long march. The counsel also requested the court to order the government to stop police action against the party workers and for illegal cases to not be registered against the activists.
Meanwhile, the judge sought reports from the Punjab IG and chief secretary and adjourned the hearing till tomorrow.