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Faizabad sit-in: Ex-DG ISI Faiz Hamid ‘skips’ hearing for the 3rd time

Despite multiple summons, former ISI chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid once again failed to appear before the Faizabad inquiry commission tasked with investigating the 2017 protest sit-in organized by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

Sources revealed that the commission had scheduled the appearance of the former spy chief for 10:30 am on Tuesday, but he did not attend the hearing. Considering his repeated absence, the commission is now contemplating the option of recording his statement through a video link.

Faizabad Sit-in

This marked the third instance of the former ISI chief missing the inquiry commission’s hearings. He was initially summoned in the second week of December the previous year, and then again on December 29, but the first notice couldn’t be delivered, according to sources.

In November of the same year, the caretaker federal government formed the inquiry commission following the Supreme Court’s 2019 Faizabad verdict. The panel, headed by retired IGP Akhtar Ali Shah, was created after the apex court rejected the government’s fact-finding committee report.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, on November 15, stated that the commission would have the authority to summon anyone, including former army chiefs, prime ministers, and chief justices. The inquiry commission is mandated to submit its report to the Supreme Court by January 22.

The commission has also summoned PML-N President and former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on January 3. Earlier, figures like former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ex-Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, and others involved in the 2017 Faizabad sit-in had appeared before the panel.

The Faizabad verdict originated from the Supreme Court’s suo motu notice in November 2017, addressing a three-week-long sit-in against a change in the finality-of-Prophethood oath. The sit-in concluded after an agreement between protesters and the government.

On February 6, 2019, a two-member bench, including the now-CJP Isa and Justice Mushir Alam, recommended strict action against those issuing edicts or fatwas to harm others. The verdict also emphasized that intelligence agencies should operate within their designated mandates. The bench disposed of the suo moto case regarding the 2017 Faizabad sit-in staged by the TLP, asserting the citizens’ right to assemble and protest within the bounds of the law.

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