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SC rebuffs govt request to stop Imran’s long march

Sohail Khan
Friday, Oct 21, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday declined the federal government’s request for an interim order restraining former Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan from creating law and order in the name of purported jihad against the government by carrying out a march on Islamabad.

A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Sayed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, heard the contempt petition filed by the Interior Ministry.

The ministry had filed a petition in the apex court praying for the initiation of contempt proceedings under Article 204 of the Constitution against PTI chief Imran Khan for flouting and disregarding the orders of the apex court passed on May 25, 2022 in the petition filed by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association. “You are asking us to pass a pre-emptive order for an anticipation that may or may not happen,” Justice Ijazul Ahsen asked the AG, adding that if anything happens, he could approach the court then.

The AG said that there are unique circumstances, adding that what they had witnessed in the recent past is unprecedented. He said Imran Khan had flouted the court orders on May 25 “Should we just wait for the flood to come to our door?” the AG questioned.

“But where is the flood?” the CJP questioned the AG, adding that during the May incident, around 300 people came towards the Red Zone and it seemed that they were local residents. “Had they been protesters, they would have been more in number.” “So where is the flood right now?” the CJP asked the AG.

“The government can deal with the marchers according to the law and if there will be anything else again, please tell us so we can assemble even on holiday,” the CJP said The AG said that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan police have come to Islamabad.

The chief justice said: “We are not political activists, but we will uphold fair play and seek to safeguard the people’s basic rights.” “In the meantime, if you get something in advance, knock at our doors,” the CJP said and directed the AG to go through first the reports submitted by the Islamabad administration and intelligence agencies on PTI’s previous march and then formulate his submissions and make preparations for arguing before the court on the next date of hearing.

The court directed its office to provide the AG with a copy of the said confidential report. Islamabad Advocate-General Jehangir Jadoon also sought a copy of the report. The court asked him to get it from the attorney-general. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until next Wednesday.