Thursday, June 02, 2022

Supreme Court returns PTI's plea seeking protection for Islamabad march

Supreme Court's registrar says PTI has not approached relevant forum; notes party has raised "controversial issues"

The view outside the building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — SC website
The view outside the building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — SC website

  • SC's registrar says PTI has not approached relevant forum.
  • The top court notes party has raised "controversial issues".
  • Top court already issued order on the matter, registrar says.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Thursday returned the PTI's plea seeking protection from the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) as the Imran Khan-led party planned on holding a second long march — after the first one ended abruptly last week.

The Supreme Court's registrar raised objections to the petition, noting that the top court had already issued an order on the matter, and the PTI had not moved the relevant forum.

"The petitioner (PTI) has not approached any other appropriate forum available under the law for the same relief and has also not provided any justification for not doing so," the SC's registrar said while raising the objection. 

Read more: Imran Khan vows to remain undeterred till fresh elections are announced

Among other issues, the top court's registrar said the plea mentions were "controversial issues" in paragraphs 4, 5, 12, and 14.

PTI Chairman Khan had abruptly announced the end of his "Azadi March" on March 26 and had given the government a six-day ultimatum to announce a date for a general election. He had later said he called the march off due to fear of "bloodshed".

Just after PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar filed the plea in the apex court yesterday morning, Khan had announced that his next plan of action would rely on the court's ruling.

Read more: Imran Khan to announce next march after Supreme Court's ruling on PTI's plea

In an address to a rally in Shangla, Khan reiterated that he would not rest till fresh elections are announced and would reveal his plan of marching to Islamabad after SC's orders.

The PTI's long march to Islamabad last week caused riots across the country in which three people, including a police constable and two PTI workers, lost their lives.

A day earlier, in a written order, the Supreme Court (SC) directed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other relevant authorities to submit a report before the court explaining whether the judiciary's orders were violated during May 25 Islamabad riots.

Read more: SC seeks reports from ISI, others on whether court orders were violated in Islamabad riots

The Supreme Court's directives were issued in the order on the plea filed by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) against the government’s decision to block roads to stop PTI's "Azadi March".

In the written order, the court also said it was "disappointed" to note that riots took place in the federal capital despite its order to create a balance between both sides — the PTI and the government.

What did the controversial paragraphs include?

Paragraphs 4, 5, 12 and 14 included the following pointers:

4. That, the Petitioner served the people of Pakistan in accordance with its manifesto, till April 2022, when it was removed from power in April of 2022, through a murky and illegally orchestrated vote of no confidence. Also, through a tainted and illegal election in the Punjab assembly, the Petitioner’s Chief Minister Punjab was illegally removed, thus resulting in an unelected and unqualified individual to abrogate the seat of the Chief Minister in Punjab.

5. That, in these circumstances, and in order to galvanize the people of Pakistan against this illegally orchestrated regime change, the Petitioner has been holding several rallies and gatherings all across the country. These rallies have been held peacefully, and are the result of lawful exercise of its fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan, as enshrined in the Constitution.
12. That after the Petitioner’s Chairman, Mr. Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, was illegally ousted from the Prime Minister’s office through an orchestrated vote of no confidence in Majlis-e-Shoora on 10.04.2022, the people of Pakistan, in hundreds of thousands, came out (unplanned) into the street to register their protest against the illegal removal of the Petitioner from the government. Emotive scenes, of hundreds of thousands of protesters peacefully assembling and reciting the national anthem of Pakistan, across Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and other parts of Pakistan, were widely circulated across the social media.
14. That, as a culmination of these Assemblies, the Petitioner had planned to peacefully hold a large Assemblies on 25.05.2022, across various cities of Pakistan, and to peacefully march towards Islamabad, in order to protest the illegally orchestrated removal of Petitioner’s government, and to seek ‘real freedom’. The purpose of the Assemblies was to rally the people of Pakistan, protest and draw attention of the incumbent government towards the public sentiments.