SC to resume hearing on review pleas against Faizabad verdict

Published September 22, 2023
A TLP protesters throws a tear gas shell back towards police during a clash in Islamabad on Nov 25, 2017. ─ AFP/File
A TLP protesters throws a tear gas shell back towards police during a clash in Islamabad on Nov 25, 2017. ─ AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court is set to resume the hearing of a set of review petitions against its verdict on the 2017 sit-in by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) at Faizabad, in Islamabad.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a three-judge bench, which includes Justice Aminud Din Khan and Justice Athar Minallah, will take up review petitions on September 28.

The pleas were moved by the Ministry of Defence, Intelligence Bureau, PTI, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Pemra.

Authored by Justice Isa before he took oath as CJP, the searing judgement had instructed the defence ministry and the tri-services chiefs to penalise personnel under their command who were found to have violated their oath.

Petitions were moved by defence ministry, PTI, IB, Pemra, Sheikh Rashid

It also directed the federal government to monitor those advocating hate, extremism and terrorism and prosecute them in accordance with the law. Adverse observations were also made against several government departments for causing inconvenience to the public as the 20-day sit-in paralysed life in both Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

In its review petition, the ministry contended there was no evidence to suggest armed forces were involved with either the sit-in or a particular outcome of the elections in 2018.

It also requested the court to set aside the explicit or implicit observations about armed forces and the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI).

The petition claimed that to further their designs, several hostile foreign intelligence agencies have “created a false perception against Pakistan and its armed forces that they aid and support extremist organisations in the region”.

The Intelligence Bureau’s review petition urged the court to set aside its observations against the department.

Calling itself a premier civilian intelligence agency responsible for state security, the bureau claimed the order created a “bad impression” on the public that IB was transgressing its mandate and involved in unlawful activities and politics.

The observations were based on “vague facts”, the bureau claimed, adding during the sit-in, it was in close contact with the federal and Punjab governments and forewarned them about the plans and intentions of TLP.

In its petition moved through the party’s secretary general, the PTI questioned the mention of its joint sit-in with Pakistan Awami Tehreek in 2014 in the verdict.

It added that “the impression one gets from it was that the party conducted an illegal protest for publicity and deliberately made wrong allegations”.

The review petition urged the court to remove the remarks as the 2014 sit-in was held for genuine reasons and in accordance with fundamental rights of the people.

The party has argued that it had nothing to do with the Faizabad sit-in.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had approached the court to remove his name from the judgement. In his petition, Mr Rashid pleaded that if the words concerning him in para-4 of the judgement were not expunged, he would suffer adversely in his life.

Published in Dawn, September 22th, 2023

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