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LAHORE: A full bench of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday issued a short order which prohibits "unconstitutional" protests or sit-ins. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shireen Mazari said, however, that the march would carry on regardless of the court order.

The order reads, "The respondents PTI and PAT are restrained meanwhile from launching the azadi march, inquilab march or holding a dharna at Islamabad in an unconstitutional way keeping in view the sanctity of independence day and the chaotic and uncertain situation prevailing in the country."

The short order issued by the high court said that any march that causes anarchy or is unconstitutional is not allowed.

The court also said that sit-ins are prohibited. It dismissed the petition regarding the arrest of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and deferred decision on the containers placed in Lahore and other parts of Punjab.

PTI lawyer Ahmed Owais, however, said outside the court that Irman Khan's march is not unconstitutional.

Additional Attorney Genereal Naseer Bhutta said the long march and sit-in are unconstitutional and the government can use all resources to stop them.

The petition was filed by a citizen against the PTI's decision to hold its 'Azadi march' on independence day in Islamabad.

Earlier during the day, the court had reserved its decision saying it would be announced the order at 3pm. Later the decision was said to be announced at 6pm and then at 8pm.

Comments (38) Closed

Darkanu Aug 13, 2014 08:25pm

How to differentiate constitutional protest and sit ins and unconstitutional one? Could any body like to define the both events.

Yasser Masood Aug 13, 2014 08:36pm

What if the protest is peaceful and within the ambit of the constitution, all video footage from most channels shows PTI workers enjoying and celebrating, the occasion and its sanctity are actually being amplified if we do get riddance from Sharif Inc.

Shahzad Aug 13, 2014 08:50pm

A Great decision. Shireen Mazari's blatant disregard is in line with her leader's anarchist solutions. NZ go ahead and do what needs to be done to keep our streets safe on the independence day.

raja Aug 13, 2014 09:03pm

PTI , PAT have a golden chance of face saving though this court order.

but if they defy court order and they still carry on through the march and God forbid some innocent people are injured or dead , blame will be on IK and IK will be in serious problem.

Truth seeker Aug 13, 2014 09:08pm

Is it court's job to decide which march should proceed and which shouldn't??. What will happen to people's democratic right to peaceful protest??. This is a dangerous precedence. This has never happened before. Are we now turning into Egyptian model?? where court gives strange verdicts.

Saleem Soomro Aug 13, 2014 09:08pm

Who can explain what is unconstitutional protest. This decision is a bad decision.

Lucky Star Aug 13, 2014 09:09pm

Good decision by the Lahore High court, and hope like any law-abiding person both IK and Qadri abstain from their activities that can spread anarchy and give opportunity to Gullo Khans to destroy public and private property.

Riaz Aug 13, 2014 09:57pm

This decision of the court is against the democratic norms. Peaceful protest is a democratic right of every citizen. The decision has legitimize IK demand for NS resignation before Supreme Court inquiry.

Shuaib Aug 13, 2014 09:58pm

@Saleem Soomro It is unfortunate that most Pakistanis do not know that you do NOT have th RIGHT to protest. You require a permit. Even in the West that is the case and illegal protest are met with very strict action against protestors and they may be jailed for upto 18 years.

AZ Aug 13, 2014 10:16pm

Right in time. This is the decision every "country loving" Pakistani was waiting for.

The independence day should (MUST) be celebrated with the traditional zeal and joy.

Anwar Amjad Aug 13, 2014 10:19pm

This is a good decision. The court has to step in to stop street politics mainly to incite violence and pressure tactics like dharnas to force governments to accept arbitrary demands by putting ordinary citizens in danger and inconvenience. In fact all political rallies within city limits should be banned.

Haroon Khan Aug 13, 2014 10:24pm

And this is the same judiciary that the people of Pakistan protested for in 2007. How on earth is this judiciary independent?

UnshacklePakistan Aug 13, 2014 10:33pm

1) Where does it say in the constitution that a march support "anarchy" is unconstitutional? (Supporting anarchy doesn't mean one is supporting violence)

2) Public mass gathering is now unconstitutional in Pakistan?


Roboraz Aug 13, 2014 10:38pm

How is it a democracy if protesting is deemed unconstitutional? The irony....

Khwaja Tariq Aug 13, 2014 10:45pm

Is this the decision of an independent judiciary ?

AJamal Aug 13, 2014 10:45pm

@Truth seeker. Our judiciary has already given justice "insaaf" to those wronged. Now they have time to take up "political" cases.

saeed Aug 13, 2014 11:05pm

Would PTI, PAT now consider a dharna to reform courts also?

FR Aug 13, 2014 11:09pm

I will agree if Nawaz is able to get the same decision from SHC

FR Aug 13, 2014 11:11pm

Where were these judges when Nawaz was restoring his brother's govt in Punjab and while standing unfit to contest election under his deal with Musharraf and leading same march to ISB against PPP while even not an MNA.

jamki Aug 13, 2014 11:20pm

Nawaz dissolved govt was restored by court but Benazir Bhutto removal was considered right before court. Both were removed by same president Ghulam Ishaq.

Ali Aug 13, 2014 11:20pm

Good decision by the court.

Junaid Aug 13, 2014 11:36pm

A very good decision! Keep away the anarchists! PTI is a loser.

Hasnain Haque Aug 13, 2014 11:37pm

How come the Interior minister did not restrict the march but the court does? who is running the country the courts or the government?

waqas Aug 13, 2014 11:47pm

Yes! a new march in the offing for the real independence of judiciary. Bad decision

haider Aug 14, 2014 12:00am

i am not in favour of imran but after this decision i feel This court has been sold, the azadi march should go on more so because of these kangaroo courts.

Light Aug 14, 2014 12:02am

It is not court's job to decide who should March and who should not, It is because of the Long march the Court/Judges were reinstated. Protests are part of Democracy.

Sha Aug 14, 2014 12:09am

This is what happens when courts are also political - they take sides ... What happened to people's right to express dissatisfaction ? This court doesn't see anything wrong with entire neighbourhoods and city being subjected to collective punishment by turning the city into an open prison in the name of security ... Its shame that court is cherry picking parts of constitution. Oh I got it, only the powerful and rich have rights. This whole system is inept and corrupt.

Asif A. Shah Aug 14, 2014 12:16am

There is an African proverb which states that" When elephants fight, it is the grass which suffers." Most marches in Pakistan end up involving some disorderly conduct. The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in a peaceful manner . Now, how do you balance these two competing concerns. Is there a danger of some disorderly conduct during the march? Yes. Is there going to be anarchy in the country? No. Should the dignity of the judiciary be upheld? Yes. Should PTI's grievances be addressed? Yes. At the end of the day it is a question of trust among the big political players involved. The ordinary people can only wait and see or to follow Khawja Asif's advice:pray

Fahd Siddiqui Aug 14, 2014 01:09am

Ambiguous decision. Dangerous precedent.

Husain Jan Aug 14, 2014 01:15am

Decision of the court on a petition filed by a "Citizen". Great to know this, because in the past courts used to return the petitions due to the reason that "petitioner is not the direct aggrieved party" . How come that in this case the petitioner - one of the 180m citizens- is duly considered as an "aggrieved party" ??? Such different attitudes of courts are simply baffling for the masses.

naeem Aug 14, 2014 01:39am

I would love to see the clause of Constitutional or any kind of march in our book. Where did the court found it ?

Akram Aug 14, 2014 01:55am

Poor judgement by LHC. This can lead to confusion and increase in political heat. That judgement, I'm afraid, ensures a more determined and aggressive response from either side in defence of their respective stands. End result: Chaos and violance, the last things the citizens need.

Lucky Star Aug 14, 2014 02:07am

Civilized people in civilized nations respect their judiciary even if they don't like the decisions sometimes, and that's the way it should be in Pakistan for harmoney and progress.

Syed A Aug 14, 2014 04:26am

This is an unprecedented order, where the court infringes upon the basic right of citizens to protest. This ruling may itself be unconstitutional.

az Aug 14, 2014 12:28pm

Dawn summarizes the decision above in the words, "The short order issued by the high court said that any march that causes anarchy or is unconstitutional is not allowed." so the matter is clear: anarchy is not allowed- peaceful gatherings are allowed! and it is not strange at all. By the way who went to the court?

Salman Hasan Aug 14, 2014 12:36pm

This is an absolute wrong decision by the court. The court should have supported Freedom of Speech clause of the constitution. You can't call one long march as legal and other illegal. Who is going to determine that? Who gave these judges these rights to pass such judgments on democratic right to protest against the government of time. These judges should be censured for passing political judgments in support of one party. This is absolutely illegal. Supreme Court should take notice and take suo moto and kill the lower court's decision. I see some "Chamak" in the legal markets.

Masoud Aug 14, 2014 01:06pm

Zardari has rightly adviced judiciary not to interfere in political & democratic affairs. In a Democratic environment issuing undemocratic order is unacceptable

sss Aug 14, 2014 02:47pm

even the judiciary in Pakistan is corrupt