ISLAMABAD: Fed up with the public response in the twin cities, the cold response by federal government as well as the rain which started Tuesday, the protesting clerics have now petitioned in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the “execution” of their demands.

Perhaps it is the cold weather which has led to the protestors also taking back most of their demands. Before, they were seeking the removal of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid and Punjab Law Minister Rana Safiullah, Asiya Bibi’s execution, cases against religious leaders to be dismissed and the removal of clerics from the Fourth Schedule.

However, in its petition submitted in the IHC, the Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah have demanded: “It is humbly prayed that this Hon’ble Court while allowing the writ petition, direct the federal government, represented by the respondents to publish and publicize the inquiry report submitted by Raja Zafarul Haq, and the culprits so determined therein, may very kindly be proceed against under the relevant laws.”

IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will hear the petition on Thursday.

Clerics let go of other demands, ask IHC to publicise findings of inquiry into amendment in legislation

He same bench was also scheduled to take up another petition filed by a lawyer who was manhandled by the protestors and in which he seeks to confine the protest to a place designated by Justice Siddiqui for political rallies, protests and other such activities.

Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah has cited the law minister, speaker National Assembly and PML-N as respondents in the petition.

Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah had occupied the Faizabad Bridge which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road, both of which are the busiest roads in the twin cities.

The clerics are protesting a mistake in the legislature which was rectified soon after it was pointed out by lawmakers.

The petition alleges that “the the amendment dated October 2, 2017 secured to alter and mould the shape of the relevant laws...[pave] way for the minorities to present themselves as members of majority faith”.

The petitions points out that though the amendment to the declaration on the finality of prophet hood was corrected, the relevant quarters are not disclosing the outcome of the report of an inquiry ordered to fix responsibility for the mistake.

The petition goes on to say that under the right to information act, the finding of the report should be shared with the public at large.

It says the government has not publicized the finding of the report and the court has the jurisdiction to issue an order in this regard.

The other petition that the IHC single-member bench is scheduled to hear is against the sit in, filed by a local lawyer, Rana Abdul Qayyum.

The petition filed through retired Lt Col Inamur Rahim chronicles how Mr Qayyum was manhandled by the protestors. It says the petitioner is a practicing lawyer who is a retired chief warrants officer of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

It says he was manhandled, beaten up and briefly detained by the protestors and that he was only released when he told him about his previous job with the PAF.

According to the petition, Mr Qayyum was going home in Ghouri Town, near the Islamabad Expressway from the district courts of Islamabad on Nov 10 on his motorcycle when he was intercepted by the protestors near Faizabad.

The protestors “started hurling filthy abuses [at] the petitioner and lawyers in general. They held the petitioner from [the] neck and threw him on the ground and started beating him with sticks [and kicked him]”.

The protestors are then said to have produced him before a “pir sahib”, who declared him an apostate and said he should be killed. Mr Qayyum then told him he had retired from the PAF and the protestors then took him to another man who was a retired PAF chief tech, who introduced himself as Hafeez and also told the petitioner that he was the in-charge of the Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah sit-in.

Hafeez is said to have let Mr Qayyum go after the latter assured him he will bring ex-servicemen to the protest in the evening.

According to the petition, the IHC had last year designated Democracy Park and Speech Corner for such activities and that directions may be issued to confine the protest to this place.

It requests the court to direct the district administration to act against the protestors for blocking the main roads and creating nuisance for the public at large.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2017


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