ISLAMABAD: A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday refused to set aside the district administration’s notification for banning the entry of clerics from different schools of thought into the federal capital for a couple of months.

On September 26, the district magistrate of Islamabad had banned the entry of 16 clerics in the limits of the federal capital for two months. The step was taken on the advice of the Special Branch of the police in order to maintain peace and order in the city during Muharram.

According to the notification issued by the district administration of Islamabad, the clerics whose entry has been banned in the federal capital include Hafiz Muhammad Saddique, Allama Tahir Ashraf, Muhammad Illyas Ghuman, Muhammad Muaviah Azam, Abdul Khaliq Rehmani, Dr Khadim Hussain Dhaloo, Aurangzeb Farooqi, Muhammad Yousaf Rizvi, Pir Irfan Al-Mashahdi, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Asif Ashraf, Allama Ghazanfar Tunsavi, Allama Jaffar Jatoi, Zakir Syed Maqbool Hussain, Hafiz Tassadaq Hussain and Muhammad Iqbal. These clerics belong to the Deobandi, Barelvi and Shia schools of thought.

A petition was filed by the chairman of the Markazi Asna Ashri Trust Imam Bargah and though the petitioner had challenged the notification of September 26, the trust had wanted the court to set aside the ban on Shia clerics only.

The same petition was earlier rejected by IHC’s Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi, holding that the petition was not maintainable and had advised the petitioner to make representation before the district administration.

During the course of the hearing before the division bench consisting of Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Minallah asked the petitioner’s counsel to apprise the court if the clerics had challenged the order in another forum.

When the counsel insisted that the court treat the matter as a special case as the clerics have been invited to deliver routine sermons, the judge replied that the law does not have room for extending favours in special circumstances. “The aggrieved party should have challenged the order as the trust was not the aggrieved party in this case,” he said.

Published in Dawn October 8th, 2016

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