ISLAMABAD: Even as more petitioners continued to withdraw their challenges to a ruling pertaining to the Faizabad sit-in, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Monday sought fresh disclosures from anyone regarding the 20-day protest by a religious group, that had brought the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to a halt in 2017.
CJP Isa, who had authored the 2019 judgement, said anybody who was affected by the protest could approach the apex court to submit affidavits revealing new information but only in writing.
However, the order explained that if any party or anyone wants to file anything, the same be filed by or before Oct 27. The next hearing is scheduled for Nov 1.
Released on Monday, a four-page order regarding Sept 26 hearing also mentioned the request of Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan, who asked the court to express restraint as the matter “attends to events of a certain period and its scope should not be extended”.
Court asks affected parties to submit written affidavits as more petitioners withdraw challenges to 2019 verdict
The order explained that since adjournments have been sought and as certain parties were not in attendance, therefore, they and all others were given another opportunity.
“We note that some have publicly stated that they knew what had happened during the 20-day Faizabad dharna, yet the judgement did not consider their point of view.”
According to the order, this was surprising given that it was noted in paragraph 17 of the judgement that: “All the hearings in this case were conducted in open court. We had permitted those aggrieved and those whose interest may be affected to come forward and had also allowed them to file documents and written submission.”
During the Sept 26 hearing, the order said, several questions arose, including (a) the non-fixation of these applications for a considerably long period of time, since the case was taken up after four years, and (b) the simultaneous filing and reason for filing these applications, (c) whether constitutional and statutory bodies acted independently in filing the same, and (d) whether, as asserted by some, the Feb 6, 2019 judgement has been implemented or not.
The order recalled that the Ministry of Defence had filed its civil review petition (CRP) on March 11, 2019, seeking a review of the judgement. The AGP at the last hearing stated the government of Pakistan and the defence ministry did not want to press their review petition.
Likewise, the Intelligence Bureau filed its CRP on March 13, 2019, seeking review of the judgement and sought to withdraw it. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority also filed on Sept 27 but later sought to withdraw its CRP.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had filed a CRP on March 11, 2019, seeking to be arrayed as a party. But senior counsel Syed Ali Zafar representing the party told the court that it did not want to pursue the plea, as upon reflection the party realised that the judgement was in accordance with the law.
Sheikh Rashid wanted to join proceedings as a party. He was represented by Advocate Amanullah Kanrani who has now become the law minister of Balochistan.
His advocate on record (AoR) has sought time to engage another counsel or himself to argue the application on the next date of hearing.
Similarly, MQM-P’s AoR Sheikh Mahmood Ahmad contended that Advocate Irfan Qadir had earlier represented the party, but he was unable to contact him and did not know if he still represented them. However, the order said that the court was not concerned with internal matters.
Mohammad Ijazul Haq had filed an application on March 7, 2019, to expunge something in paragraph 4 of the judgement. However, paragraph 4 referred to a report submitted by ISI. Therefore, the court inquired from Advocate M.A. Ghaffarul Haq whether his client took exception to the report of the ISI or what was observed by the court. The counsel sought time to take instructions and to file an affidavit.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had also sought to delete certain observations made in paragraph 33. Later, Advocate Malik Qamar Afzal stated that he was now under instructions to withdraw the application.
Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2023