PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure with the holding of a political meeting in an educational institution here and asked the advocate general to convey its concern about it to the provincial government.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Syed M Attique Shah observed that holding public meetings in educational institutions was deplorable and that those institutions shouldn’t be turned into political arenas.

Without naming the Peshawar’s historical Edwardes College, where former prime minister and PTI chief Imran Khan addressed students and used ‘offensive language’ against political rivals, the bench observed that if a party was permitted to hold a meeting in an educational institution, its rivals would follow the suit to the disadvantage of students enrolled there.

Read: Imran’s speech at Edwardes College stirs controversy

It bench asked advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt to convey the court’s concern to the government.

Court deplores public meetings in educational institutions

The issue was taken up by the bench while hearing a petition of Hayatabad Township resident Iftikhar Ahmad Malik, who sought orders for halt to heavy vehicular traffic, including trucks and shipping containers, through some residential parts of the township.

While hearing that case, the bench addressed assistant advocate general Sophia Noreen and observed that traffic jams on roads next to the high court and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had become a routine.

The chief justice observed that a bunch of protesters occupied roads near the Rehman Baba Chowk, which caused the suspension of vehicular traffic for many hours.

The bench summoned AG Shumail Ahmad Butt and asked him whether the police had failed in maintaining smooth flow of traffic.

The bench asked the AG that the government should have designated a place for holding protests instead of allowing protesters to gather on the Khyber Road, a major artery in the provincial capital.

The AG assured the bench that he would hold a meeting with the inspector general of police and the representatives of the government to address the issue of road blockades.

He said as the IGP had gone to the federal capital to attend hearing into a case before the Islamabad High Court, he won’t be able to meet him on Tuesday.

The AG said he would hold a meeting with the police chief at the earliest.

The bench observed that while designating a place for protests, the government should ensure that that spot should not be located close to any educational institution.

It added that it had noted that a political party recently held a public meeting in an educational institution, which was not a wise step.

The AG assured the bench that he would convey the concern of the court on the matter to the government for consideration.

He said whenever the court had issued directives on issues, the government had complied with them wholeheartedly.

Barrister Kamran Qaisar appeared for the petitioner and requested the court to direct the respondents, including Peshawar Development Authority (PDA), to stop all heavy vehicular traffic entering Sector D-5 of Hayatabad.

The bench later adjourned hearing in the case.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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