Faizabad sit-in: SC summons intelligence agencies’ officers; Who is being benefited and funding the protests?” Question the Judges

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ISLAMABAD : Supreme Court on Thursday summoned the officers of intelligence agencies in reference to the suo moto notice taken over the sit-in being staged by Sunni Tehreek and Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah at Faizabad Interchange.

While expressing dissatisfaction over the reports of intelligence agencies, Justice Musheer Alam said that nothing significant has been stated in them as only four names have been written. The court directed to re-submit the reports till next Thursday.

The judge stated that a hefty amount is spent on the intelligence agencies but their role in the current crisis is nowhere to be seen.

The Ministries of Defence and Interior presented their response before the Supreme Court’s two-member bench, as the sit-in, continued for the 18th day with no headway so far between the government and the protestors.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa expressed his dismay at the unrelenting situation and noted that the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi were facing serious problems as a result of the sit-in.

“When the writ of the state ends, decisions are made on streets,” Justice Isa remarked, adding without taking any names, “This dharna is all about one man’s ego and his quest to get fame.”

The judge further questioned how the country will manage to function if such a situation persists.

“If something happens yet again tomorrow, will they close down cities again?” he asked.

“We don’t want bloodshed in the country,” Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf told the court. “We are taking initiatives about the sit-in. We have included religious scholars in the dialogue process with protestors.”

The attorney general said that 1800 people are participating in the sit-in, and the government has filed 18 cases against 169 people.

Replying to the attorney general’s remarks, Justice Alam said, “Tomorrow, if an enemy of the state chooses to occupy the streets of the capital, will the government try to negotiate with them?”

Trying to clarify the government’s position, the attorney general said that the government had sent the SC’s order regarding dispersing the participants to the leaders of the protest.

Angered by this reply, Justice Alam said, “What do you mean, will the protesters now decide if the sit-in will end or not?”

“No one is paying attention to the main point: all the reports reflect that the Punjab government had prior information regarding a possible sit-in and no measures were taken to stop it,” Justice Alam said.

Justice Qazi Faiz Esa maintained that government and protesters are missing out the basic point. “Pakistan was formed over an argument whereas convincing others forcefully does not set a good precedent,” he said.

“There is no repression in religion. Our conflicts have made a way for enemies to enter in the country and kill people,” he added.

Justice Qazi Faiz Esa said that people are suffering for several days because of the sit-in but the government is not ready to talk over the closed routes.

“Who is being benefited from the protests?” asked the judges. “The cities will be taken hostage again if another problem arises. Have the courts been shut down in the country?” they inquired.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that the authorities need to tell the court who is funding the sit-in and if there is any indication of foreign involvement in the matter.

The Judge said that the kind of language being used by the leaders of the sit-in is not reflective of Islam.

“Why is the media giving the sit-in so much coverage; where is the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra)?” asked the judge.

“Who is paying for the sit-in, who is providing the protesters food and electricity?”

Justice Qazi asked that the IB and ISI to satisfy the court by filing the missing details in the confidential report.

The court adjourned the hearing of the case for a week.

Meanwhile, the hearing of the case pertaining to the ongoing sit-in at Faizabad Interchange at Islamabad High Court was adjourned because Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui was on leave.

On the other hand the Police arrested 42 protesters who attacked and injured policemen as well as members of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) late last night.

Protesters also beat up two photojournalists and tried to snatch their cameras as they were trying to capture images of the attack on police.

Originally published by INP

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