ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court may not take up a petition on Thursday (today) moved against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership for an alleged hate campaign targeting national institutions such as the armed forces, the Election Commission of Pakistan and the apex court itself.

The petition, moved by Advocate Qausain Faisal through his counsel Hassan Raza Pasha, sought an order to restrain the respondents, including the PTI leadership, members and their official spokespersons, from making any public or private statement.

The matter is scheduled to be taken up on Thursday by a two-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi. However, on Wednesday, an application was moved before the apex court through Advocate on Record Muhammad Sharif Janjua, stating that Mr Pasha, the petitioner’s counsel, was suffering from severe lower back pain.

The application stated that since the doctors had advised complete bed rest for two weeks, Mr Pasha was not in a position to appear before the apex court on Thursday to plead the case.

The application has also attached the medical prescription of the doctor concerned with a request that the proceedings be postponed in the interest of justice.

In the main petition, the petitioner had sought a direction to set up a commission to assess the impact and damage of the alleged organised hate campaign and suggest further legal steps and proceedings to determine individual liability as well as a collective responsibility and to stop the negative effects of the campaign against national security, which has allegedly adversely affected Pakistan’s relations with friendly countries.

The respondents in the petitions are the federation through the interior secretary, the PTI, its chairman Imran Khan, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry, and former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, among others.

The petitioner earlier also sought a direction for regulatory bodies like the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, Federal Investigation Agency and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to strictly control the publication of the “organised hate campaign” immediately and deal with the violators and contemnors.

The petition argues that it was a matter of public knowledge that PTI chief Imran Khan, after his ouster in April as prime minister through a vote of no confidence, had been allegedly issuing unfounded, provocative, highly defamatory and derogatory statements in public interviews, political rallies and by other means, including print, electronic and social media.

This campaign, according to the petition, was designed and calculated to tarnish the public image and severely harm the good reputation of institutions like the judiciary, armed forces and the ECP.

The petition feared that such a campaign would destabilise, weaken and demoralise individuals representing these institutions, adding that these key national institutions were directly responsible for the vital task of national security, administration of justice, law and order and the protection of political rights of the citizens of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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