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IHC dismisses petition seeking ban on public gatherings

Regarding a petition seeking a ban on public gatherings due to COVID-19, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah dismissed it on grounds that it was not the court’s job to intervene in the enforcement of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

“Judgments rendered by judicial forums become meaningless and ineffective in times of crisis when it appears that the executive authorities lack the capacity to implement them in letter and spirit. Judgments, unless respected by the citizens, State institutions, and political leadership, remain unenforced, and thus rule of law is undermined and consequently, it profoundly impacts the confidence of the people in the judiciary,” read the verdict.

He also dismissed a part of the petition seeking to restrict PEMRA from covering individuals who violate SOPs because it involves elements of freedom of speech and carries “likely implications in the context of the guaranteed fundamental rights under Articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,1973“.

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