IHC sued to stop PTI from paralysing life in capital


Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—A petition has been filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking directions for the government and PTI to evolve a mechanism for a peaceful protest on November 2 (the rescheduled date), at a specific place where fundamental rights of the ordinary citizens are not affected. The residents are haunted by the painful memories of 2014 Dharna and therefore plead the court to prevent repeat of that episode. Petitioners Muhammad Yaqoob and Shehzad Ahmed residents of Islamabad in their petition before the IHC have adopted that PTI announcement to lock down the capital city is an infringement on fundamental rights of the people.
The petitioners have cited Secretary Ministry of Interior and Chairman PTI Imran Khan, as respondents. The petitioners have submitted that they are residents of Islamabad and freedom of movement is their fundamental right. Imran Khan has announced that his party will lock down the whole city that is a threat to the fundamental rights of the people.
PTI Chairman addressing his supporters in Raiwind Lahore had announced that after Moharram, he would paralyze the capital city urging the masses for a long showdown in Islamabad. He announced that his workers would occupy the roads and entrances toward major government offices.
The petitioners contended that in 2014 PTI’s sit-in had caused loss of billions of rupees to the country besides 50 schools and colleges were closed due to security situation and these remained under the occupation of Punjab police and Rangers for several months. The value of Pakistani rupee deteriorated and foreign investment diminished. Moreover, globally Pakistan is being seen as a fragile country and even Chinese president had postponed his visit to Pakistan.
A common man in such a situation is affected badly as the whole city passes through uncertainty and terror. Leaving house for office or routine works becomes quite an ordeal. In 2014 sit-in, two important roads, Constitution Avenue and Jinnah Avenue remained blocked for months and people residing the nearby areas ran short of supplies. The petitioners have added that at a time when our neighboring country India is pressurizing Pakistan through LoC, complete lockdown at the capital Islamabad would send no positive message.
If PTI paralyses city life, it will violate article 4 and 15 of the constitution. Under article 4 one cannot be imprisoned by any person unless in a situation provided by law. Article 15 is about freedom of movement that is fundamental right.
The petitioners have prayed to the court to direct ministry of interior to mark a specific area for PTI protest to save the citizens from inconvenience.
The court is likely to take up the petition today (Tuesday) to see whether it merits hearing or not.