Pakistani court declares Faizabad protest an act of terror

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday declared the ongoing sit-in at the Faizabad interchange an “anti-state activity” and “an act of terrorism”.

Another show cause notice was issued to the interior minister for not implementing the court’s orders to clear Faizabad, observing that Ahsan Iqbal had “stopped the [Islamabad] administration from acting upon the order passed by this court.”

IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui further asked “why contempt of court proceedings may not be initiated against him. He is directed to appear in person on the next date”.

In his order, Justice Siddiqui noted that “calling the honourable judges of superior judiciary and other respectable persons with names is intolerable”, adding that the “leadership of dharna, prima facie, [are]involved in an act of terrorism.”

He also ordered that the persons identified in the report of the Raja Zafarul Haq-led committee should not be allowed to leave the country.

Judge asks agencies to dispel impression they are supporting demonstrators

“Patients dying for want of access to hospitals, traders crying for lack of business activity, students are being deprived from their right to education and right of free movement of almost six million people of twin cities usurped by dictatorial act of one person and passive approach of law enforcing agencies [is]adding to the miseries of citizens”, the order noted.

In the order, Justice Siddiqui stated that faith in the finality of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was “of every Muslim and few persons cannot be allowed to claim exclusive right for its protection”.

However, the court order advised the district administration not to use “firearms” during the clearance operation, if one was required.

It also directed the interior secretary to “ensure the production of report of the committee headed by Senator Raja Zafarul Haq.” The report shall not be made public till next date of hearing, the court noted.

During the hearing, counsel Lt-Col Inamur Rahim asked the court to direct the Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief to trace the call records of the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah leadership to ascertain who was backing the protest.

“There is serious need for our sensitive institutions to dispel this impression that [the]Faizabad dharna is sponsored by the intelligence agencies, therefore, sector commander of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and DG IB are directed to appear in person on the next date,” the bench ordered.

On Friday, Islamabad Chief Commissioner Zulfiqar Haider told the court that the interior minister had stopped the ICT administration from acting upon the orders of the court so that negotiations may continue.

The IHC expressed its astonishment and said: “It is beyond understanding how a federal minister or even a prime minister can sit over an order passed by the court of competent jurisdiction, unless not reversed by the appellate court.”

The IHC bench directed the registrar’s office to fix the two petitions of Maulana Allah Wasaya and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah for Monday (Nov 27) instead of Nov 29. The petitions seek orders to publicise the report of the committee led by Senator Raja Zafarul Haq to fix responsibility for the amendment of the oath regarding Khatm-i-Nubuwat in the election law.

Earlier, the two petitions were fixed for hearing on Nov 29, but bench in its latest order noted that due to the sensitivity of the situation, the petitions should be heard two days earlier.

The bench directed the registrar’s office to issue notices to the respondents and their counsel for Nov 27. The hearing was then adjourned until Nov 27.

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