ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court declined on Tuesday to allow an “unrestrained demonstration” in the capital city, stressing that the city was home to several vital agencies and embassies.
An appeal against the detention of PTI leaders was being heard by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.
Lawyer Ali Zafar, who has represented PTI in several matters, including the no-confidence vote, made the argument. Zafar has been granted time to study the court’s rulings since the court took a break.
“The arrests of PTI workers are taking place all throughout the nation. Every Pakistani has the right to peaceful protest”, according to PTI lawyer Ali Zafar.
A day before the previous ruling party’s long march to Islamabad, the government “started a crackdown” on PTI leaders late on Monday night, resulting in the PTI turning to the courts, despite the centre’s claims that it is tolerant of protests as long as they are peaceful.
Police have been told to deal firmly with PTI protestors after the interior ministry requested that party leaders be detained. According to the former ruling party, the police were following a list when they conducted these operations.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the sit-in case was cited by Minallah to the counsel. Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan organised a sit-in in Faizabad, Pakistan, in 2017 to protest the government’s treatment of minorities.
Law enforcement and intelligence organisations have been told that they can only work within their mandates following a Supreme Court ruling.
Because of the sit-in’s impact on traffic, the Supreme Court took the issue up and requested a report from the interior and defence ministries, as well as the Intelligence Bureau and the ISG.
A right to protest is guaranteed by the Supreme Court, the top judge of the state’s high court said, noting that the court cannot rule on the basis of fear.
The district administration should be contacted to obtain permission for the rally, stressed the court.
The Chief Justice questioned, “how would the government deal with miscreants that could dress as protesters?”.
PTI’s attorney was also required to provide an affidavit stating that no laws will be breached during the demonstration.