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Supreme Court to resume hearing Faizabad sit-in case on November 16

Updated November 09, 2018

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TLP workers had staged a sit-in in Islamabad last year and virtually paralysed the capital. — File/AP
TLP workers had staged a sit-in in Islamabad last year and virtually paralysed the capital. — File/AP

The Supreme Court will resume hearing the suo motu case on Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan's (TLP) Faizabad sit-in from last year on November 16.

In November 2017, TLP workers demanding the resignation of then law minister Zahid Hamid, had staged a weeks-long sit-in at the Faizabad interchange that had virtually paralysed the federal capital and led to several people losing their lives.

On November 21 of the same month, the apex court had taken notice of the sit-in and directed the defence and interior secretaries to submit a detailed report on the matter.

Days later, the then PML-N government had launched against the protesters an operation which, when failed, had forced the authorities to cave and Hamid to resign.

The SC today fixed the case's next hearing for Friday [Nov 16]. A two-member bench comprising Justice Musheer Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, under the former's stewardship, will hear the case.

The attorney general, interior and defence secretaries, Inspector General of Islamabad police and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) were also issued notices.

In the case's last hearing, the Supreme Court bench had wondered whether a party whose head propagates views against the Constitution can be registered as a party under the Political Parties Act by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Referring to TLP Chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Justice Isa had asked whether someone could be allowed to violate the Constitution even if he had a just cause.

At this, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor had explained that the ECP registers the parties but conceded that although protesting lawfully is everyone’s right, holding a protest so as to paralyse routine life is indeed unconstitutional. He added the ECP had the authority to revoke the registration of any political party.

The court had then issued a notice to the ECP to furnish the application under which the TLP had been registered and asked the attorney general to assist the court in determining whether the commission or the federal government was empowered under the Elections Act 2017 to take measures for regulating the parties.

Earlier this month, the TLP held countrywide protests against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi — a Christian woman acquitted after eight years on death row for blasphemy — condemning the judges on the bench hearing Aasia' case, the prime minister and the army chief.