ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq termed the petition of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) seeking permission for a public gathering in the capital and landing of PTI chief Imran Khan’s helicopter at Parade Ground ‘premature’ and asked the former ruling party to approach the district administration for a no-objection certificate (NOC).

The IHC chief justice observed that granting permission for procession or sit-in was a domain of the district administration as the high court could neither direct them to issue NOC nor order them to allow the taking off and landing of the PTI chief’s helicopter at Parade Ground.

PTI’s divisional president for Islamabad Malik Sajid filed a petition before the IHC for permission to organise its long march in Islamabad.

The petition cited the interior secretary, the Islamabad inspector general and the deputy commissioner as respondents. It said the PTI chairman had given a call to his workers and leadership for a sit-in in Islamabad scheduled to be held on Nov 26.

The petition said the PTI on Nov 20 submitted an application to get permission for the sit-in which was not granted as of yet. The petition also requested the court to issue directions to the district administration for the NOC for the sit-in.

It further requested the court to direct the above-mentioned respondent authorities to “allow helicopter of chairman PTI Imran Khan for landing and taking off from Parade Ground till the conclusion of the gathering”.

At the outset, Justice Farooq remarked that the high court cannot provide helipad services since it was the domain of the district administration. He added the law empowered the district administration to issue permission for public processions and also prescribed the modalities for the right of assembly. “You seek the relief that I should direct the district administration to give the permission for the procession, [however] I cannot issue a such direction,” he said while addressing the PTI counsel.

The district administration has not turned down the application seeking permission and the matter is still pending with them, he added. The court adjourned further hearing without even issuing notices to the respondents.

Meanwhile, Special Judge (Offences in Banking) extended pre-arrest interim bail of PTI chairman Imran Khan, party leaders Sardar Azhar, Syed Younas, Hamid Zaman, Tariq Shafi, Saifullah Khan Nyazee and Amir Mehmood Kayani in the prohibited funding case.

The counsel for the accused persons filed an application seeking exemption of Mr Khan from personal appearance on medical grounds. Further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till December 14.

Separately, an anti-terrorism court confirmed the pre-arrest interim bail of PTI Senator Faisal Javed, Amir Kayani, Raja Khurram Nawaz, and others. They were nominated in the FIR registered with Industrial Area police station for forcibly stopping police officials from discharging their lawful duty and violating Section 144.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2022

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