ISLAMABAD: The Int­el­ligence Bureau (IB) on Tuesday expressed before the Supreme Court its int­ention to withdraw a petition asking the top court to revisit the 2019 verdict against the sit-in by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakis­tan (TLP) in Faizabad, Islamabad, which lasted 20 days in 2017.

“The petitioner intends to withdraw the titled civil review petition and does not want to pursue the matter in the case,” said a single-page request filed on behalf of the IB director general, two days ahead of the scheduled hearing.

Headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a three-judge bench, which inc­lu­des Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah, is due to take up the review petitions on Sep­t­ember 28.

The pleas were moved by the Mini­stry of Defence, IB, the PTI, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, and Pemra. The IB, however, requested the apex court to accept its plea for the withdrawal of the case.

Likewise, Sheikh Rashid, also requested the apex court to postpone its hearing for Sept 28 since his counsel Amanullah Kanrani has taken over the charge of the law minister for Balochistan; therefore, he was not in a position to appear before the apex court.

Authored by Justice Isa, the scathing judgement had instructed the defence ministry and the services chiefs to penalise personnel under their command who were found to have violated their oath.

The judgement had 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 sit-in paralysed life in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

In its review petition, the defence 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.

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 had 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 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 the fundamental rights of the people.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had approached the court to remove his name from the judgement.

In his petition, Mr Ahmed pleaded that if the words concerning him in para-4 of the judgement were not expunged, he would suffer in life.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023

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