Draft anti-protest law awaits cabinet’s approval, SC told

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf informed the Supreme Court on Friday that the government has drafted laws aimed to handle protests in the country.
The two-judge bench, comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Mazhar Alam, was hearing a case pertaining to the Faizabad sit-in that had paralyzed the federal capital for over two weeks last year. The chief federal law officer told the judges that the government has drafted laws aimed to tackle protests.
The draft laws will be presented and discussed at a meeting of the federal cabinet scheduled to take place on Tuesday, he added.
During the hearing on Friday, Justice Mushir wondered if the government would treat anyone challenging its writ like it did in the case of the Faizabad sit-in.
He asked the law officer whether the protesters had not committed any crime under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Was not any public property damaged or any police officer injured during the protest, the judge questioned.
The protesters set off for Islamabad from Lahore, but no one bothered to stop them there, he continued. Nor did anyone stop them at the Liaqat National Bagh, where they had camped out en route to Islamabad, the judge noted.
The federal law officer said only a child had died during the protest and as many as 418 people were booked in different cases.
Meanwhile, the IG Islamabad Police and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) submitted their respective reports in compliance with the court orders. After going through the report, Justice Mazhar pointed out that both the reports were inconsistent.
“What was learnt from the protest? Will that happen again,” he asked the representatives of the government and security agencies, who were present in the court.

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