Petition terms PTI lockdown plan threat to city’s peace, routine life
Islamabad—Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed Secretary Interior, District Magistrate and Inspector General Islamabad police to appear in person before the court on Thursday (today) and apprise that what steps they have taken to safeguard fundamental rights of the public on account of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s November 2 proposed protest and lock down of the city. The IHC bench also directed Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to place before the court material containing contents of speeches and statements purportedly made by Chairman PTI and aired on electronic media regarding sit-in of November 2. The IHC bench is hearing four petitions filed for restraining PTI from holding protest sit-in on November 2 and seeking directions for PEMRA not to telecast Imran Khan speeches, interviews as he is still at large and did not surrendered himself before the court of law that is seeking his arrest. The petitions were filed by three practicing lawyers Raja Maqsood Hussain,Tasleem Abbasi, Faiz Ahmed Cheema and one law student Mohib Ullah. The petitioners through their counsel Barrister Jehangir Khan Jadoon contended before the court that they wanted to include Chief Commissioner and deputy commissioner Islamabad as party in this matter that court allowed. The petitioners also cited federal government through Interior Ministry, Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Electronic Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Inspector General (IG) Islamabad police and Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) as respondents. The petitioners adopted that hurling threats to lock down the city attracts provision of anti-terrorism act (ATA) and provision of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). They also submitted that they learned through media that Chairman PTI is out to lock down the whole city as nobody could move or enter in the city through use of force for an indefinite period. Being lawyers, petitioners consider that such an act fell under section 6(1)(b) of the ATA 1997 besides other provisions of the PPC. If Chairman PTI is not restrained by the federal government institutions, there will be a chaotic situation and law and order would be at perils, petitioner contends. The petition further added that the complete lock down of the city would badly affect working of the petitioners as they practice in both Rawalpindi and Islamabad cities. According to the petition, the Chairman PTI is involved in terrorist activities and is wanted by Anti-Terrorism Court while police is deliberately avoiding his arrest and it is irony that his speeches and interviews are regularly aired on electronic media. The petitioner contended that it is duty of the state to check electronic media and see National Action Plan (NAP) is not violated. Article 16 of the Constitution allows people to assemble in a peaceful manner but this not absolute right and law has imposed certain conditions on it. Article 15 provides for free movement of the citizens would be infringed upon if this announced sit-in would not be checked petitioners said, says the petition. The petitioners have requested the court to declare any lock down plan as illegal, unconstitutional within the preview of ATA and other PPC provisions. Federal government may be directed to ensure free and smooth movement of the citizens. Chairman PTI may be apprehended as he is already wanted by the anti terrorism court (ATC).