Court to hear petition challenging PTI rally in F-9 Park

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Registrar office’s objections overruled

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has set aside the registrar office’s objections to a petition that has called for banning PTI’s 24th April public meeting or rally in the F-9 Park and has decided to formally hear the case from Thursday (today).
Earlier, when Justice Amir Farooq on Wednesday took up the petition to see whether it is admissible for hearing or not the judge attention was drawn to the objections raised by the IHC Registrar office that the petitioner is not an affected party in this regard. The judge however dismissing the objections accepted the petition for hearing.
In his petition, the petitioner Dr Waheed Mehmood Khan has requested the court to direct the respondents—Ministry of Interior secretary, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) chief commissioner, Islamabad Police inspector general, Capital Development Authority chairperson, Environmental Protection Agency director general and the PTI through its chairman Imran Khan— to relocate venue for the gathering and that the PTI might be provided with an alternate place to hold the event.
The petitioner’s counsel Yasir Mehmood Chaudhry submitted that as a resident of Islamabad, Dr Waheed had serious apprehensions that a large political gathering of the PTI would destroy the natural beauty of the park that would not be possible to restore during the entire season.
Islamabad residents have already suffered a lot during the last years sit-ins from the effects of such political gatherings and protests. A number of greenbelts still needed to be restored. Superior courts in a number of judgments observed that parks, playgrounds and other public places could only be utilised for the purposes for which they originally meant.
The petitioner said that places had a prior right for all citizens across the country to breathe fresh air and to enjoy with family and friends. Everybody has a right to express themselves but under its pretext no one should and must be allowed to jeopardise the rights of other citizens, he said.
The petitioner has prayed before the court to direct the respondents to relocate the venue for the gathering. He has also sought directions for chalking out a permanent future policy in this regard to safeguard the rights of the petitioner and other citizens.
Meanwhile a number of the F-9 Park visitors have questioned the sense of judgment of the PTI leadership for choosing a public park as a venue for public meeting.
Imran Khan himself is an athlete and highly values public grounds and parks but in the present case—selecting a public park—for his tsunami march or the Foundation Day whatever is in stark contrast to his personality, said Umme Kalsum a mother of 3-year old Nasir. They had come to the park along with Nasir’s father and other members of family. If PTI workers enter the park they will not be mindful of the flower beds and grassy lanes. Almost every Pasteur of the park, which are the real attraction for the viewers and visitors will be spoiled, she said.

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