The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday ordered the capital administration not to place any containers or block roads during the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)'s scheduled "lockdown" of Islamabad on November 2.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, while hearing the case, directed the capital city administration to ensure smooth running of daily business in Islamabad on Nov 2.

The administration should ensure that hospital, schools and markets remain open on the day and no containers are placed to block roads, the court said.

"We will not let rights of citizens be violated," Justice Siddiqui remarked.

He asked the administration to inform the PTI about the restriction of holding protests in democracy (parade) ground.

The court directed government authorities to follow the legal course in case the protest is held anywhere in the capital other than the designated spot called "Democracy Park and Speech Corner".

The space was designated by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in 2014 for political activities such as sit-ins and protests.

The court issued the directions while hearing four petitions which sought orders for the PTI to withdraw its decision to shut down Islamabad. The petitions also sought immediate arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan who was declared absconder by an anti-terrorist court.

The court issued orders to summon the PTI Chief in person on Oct 31. He also directed Pemra authorities to produce records of Khan's speeches in which he announced plans to shut down Islamabad on Nov 2.

'Only judiciary is the third umpire'

In his remarks, Justice Siddiqui expressed displeasure over Imran Khan's lockdown plans and the administration's behaviour.

Under which law, the judge asked, has Imran Khan has been announcing plans to shut down Islamabad on Nov 2.

"Only judiciary is the third umpire," he remarked.

In an apparent reference to the army, Imran Khan had said earlier this week that only Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be responsible if democracy was derailed and a ‘third power’ stepped in as a result of the Islamabad lockdown on Nov 2.

He further said that the government has been paralysed and the administration and police are busy in only holding meetings.

Chief commission Zulfiqar Babar, Inspector General of Police (IG) Islamabad Tariq Masood, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Islamabad Sajid Kiyani were present during the hearing.

Imran’s lawyers mull response

PTI leader and Advocate Naeem Bukhari told reporters that the PTI’s legal team was deliberating upon the nature of the order passed by the IHC. “We are examining various aspects of the court order. We are looking to see if the order was passed without a lawful authority.”

The order was passed without hearing our viewpoint, he said.

He said that he and Dr. Babar Awan were thinking on various options. He continued that they were deliberating if they should submit an application before the judge that the PTI feels biasness so the case should be referred to another bench.

We have also an option to challenge the orders in the Supreme Court, said Bukhari.

Dr. Babur Awan, citing an earlier verdict, said that in the past the judiciary had denied to interfere in political matters.

With additional reporting by Shakeel Qarar in Islamabad



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