Supreme Court turns down PTI plea over govt’s conduct

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Petition had sought to bar govt from using force, coercive measures

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has refused to entertain the constitutional petition of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, seeking directions for the federal and Punjab governments to allow the former ruling party to hold a peaceful protest in Islamabad.

The petition sought to bar the incumbent government from using force, coercive measures or ‘intimidation tactics’ such as raiding homes of party workers, unlawful restrictions and blocking entry points.

The constitutional petition was filed under Article 184(3) through PTI’s counsel, Ali Zafar. The petition termed the recent arrests a breach of fundamental rights of free movement, peaceful protest, association, assembly and freedom of speech.

The top court’s registrar office returned the petition after raising objections, saying that a similar issue had already been decided in the Islamabad High Court Bar Association case.

It also objected that the instant petition contained scandalous matter in certain paras. It also noted that the petitioner did not approach the appropriate forum to redress the grievances. The apex court, in its order, also stated that PTI supporters “have demonstrated (from their past conduct) that they will be peaceful in the exercise of their constitutional rights”.

Just after PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar filed the plea in the apex court Wednesday morning, Khan had announced that his next plan of action would rely on the court’s ruling.

In an address to a rally in Shangla, Khan reiterated that he would not rest till fresh elections are announced and would reveal his plan of marching to Islamabad after SC’s orders.

The PTI’s long march to Islamabad last week caused riots across the country in which three people, including a police constable and two PTI workers, lost their lives.

A day earlier, in a written order, the Supreme Court directed the Inter-Services Intelligence and other relevant authorities to submit a report before the court explaining whether the judiciary’s orders were violated during May 25 Islamabad riots.

The Supreme Court’s directives were issued in the order on the plea filed by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association against the government’s decision to block roads to stop PTI’s “Azadi March”.

In the written order, the court also said it was “disappointed” to note that riots took place in the federal capital despite its order to create a balance between both sides i.e. the PTI and the government.

 

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