On Thursday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial warned that there would be repercussions for political leadership who disobeyed the law and the constitution.
“Ours is not a political role,” CJP Bandial said while heading the fivei-member bench hearing the government’s contempt petition against PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Sayyed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi are also part of the bench.
Through the plea, the government is requesting an injunction to stop Khan from inciting a law-and-order crisis in support of the party’s planned lengthy march to Islamabad.
Political battles should take place on the streets, the CJP stated, advising the Attorney General of Pakistan to examine the security services’ findings.
“The reports indicate that PTI had violated the promises [made to the court],” the AGP said, informing the court he was not provided with the copies of the reports to which the bench said the court would give him the reports.
“You want to avoid a war in the streets, so de we,” the CJP said adjourning the court till Wednesday, October 26, 2022 adding, “If something comes up in the meanwhile, we will take needed measures”.
On October 13, the Interior Ministry filed a petition asking for contempt of court proceedings against the former prime minister under Article 204 of the Constitution for disobeying and ignoring the rulings made by the supreme court on May 25, 2022, in response to a petition brought by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association.
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The federal government complained to the Supreme Court that the PTI leader was disobeying a court order by making announcements about marching on Islamabad.
“Imran Khan is making announcements to attack Islamabad,” says the plea. It urged the Supreme Court to direct the PTI chief to ensure the implementation of its orders related to protests and sit-ins.
The appeal was heard by a five-judge panel of the Supreme Court, which included Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justices Ijaz ul Ahsan, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, and Sayyed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi.
Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali presented his case at the beginning of the session.
The government’s attorney informed the court that following its decision on May 25 to limit law enforcement to the Red Zone, PTI supporters began throwing rocks at the officers and turned to violence in the federal capital.
The PTI leadership was ordered to meet with the government to finalise the protest strategy, according to the AGP, who recalled the events. Nevertheless, despite the party’s pledges, Imran Khan instructed workers to travel to D-Chowk, he continued.
The AGP remembered that despite promising the court he wouldn’t during the proceedings, Khan ordered his employees to gather at D-Chowk. A court judgement allowed for the opening of the Srinagar Highway to vehicles. The AGP noted that although the PTI requested the Parade Ground, the workers instead flocked to the D-Chowk.
“…workers headed towards the Red Zone and then clashes broke out with law enforcement agencies. Protesters vandalised public and private properties,” the AGP said adding that the PTI’s lawyers were in contact with the party leadership during the proceedings that led to the Supreme Court’s May 25 order.
The Supreme Court’s order on May 25 was also read out by Ausaf before the five-member court. Imran Khan’s intended lengthy march to the federal capital had to be stopped, according to the AGP, who sought the Supreme Court to give an interim injunction. The AGP said, “Imran is instigating an attack on Islamabad and calling it jihad. He is provoking people through fiery speeches.”
“According to you (AGP), the court order had already been breached. You were the executive authority and following the court order. Now, you have the freedom to take preventative measures,” Chief Justice Bandial observed.
He noted that 31 people had been injured in the “Azadi March” and public property was destroyed. “Imran Khan was gone the next morning.”
“We will study reports in this matter. You should gear up for the situation as per the law,” the CJP directed the attorney general with regard to the security measures during the PTI’s march that Imran Khan said would not be delayed past October.
“You are telling us [the PTI] aims to march towards Islamabad and stage a sit-in again. You can handle the situation, while staying within the confines of the law,” Justice Bandial said adding, “As of now, it’s just speeches”.
The CJP said the government should be able to manage the law-and-order situation wherever there were threats in the urban areas of the country.
“We [the court] should be asked to stop the crowd, but there is none right now,” the chief justice observed.
The court however rejected the government’s request to issue an interim order for stopping the PTI’s planned long march and called on the AGP to come to the next hearing after completing his homework.