News analysis |
On Monday, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenged the legal credibility of the agreement made by the government and protestors at the Faizabad dharna.
He stated that none of the terms of the agreement can be legally justified. Justice Siddiqui added, “How can cases filed under the Terrorism Act be dismissed?” The agreement was made on the 26th of November between the leaders of Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) and the government where the government gave in to all the demands of TLYR.
The protestors had blocked the city for weeks and had behaved violently during the dharna and more so during the police operation against them during which they ended up killing at least one police officer as well. As per the agreement, the government made Law Minister Zahid Hamid resign and let all the protestors go free and cleared them of all their charges.
The IHC had sent a special request to the AGP so he could determine on what grounds the army could act as an arbitrator.
Justice Siddiqui stated that every section of the agreement was unconstitutional. The IHC expressed its disgust at the terms of the agreement and has also criticized the role the army played during the fiasco. In previous hearings, Justice Siddiqui asked, “Who is the army to adopt a mediators role?” Siddiqui also expressed his confusion as to how the government could allow the protestors to go free without any charges even after their brutal assault on the police force. “Is the police not a part of the state?” he exclaimed.
The IHC has recommended that the legal standing of the agreement between the government and the protestors should be discussed in a joint session of the parliament. However, Attorney General Pakistan (AGP), Ashtar Ausaf, said that because the high court had taken suo motu notice of the matter, the judiciary should oversee it.
The IHC had sent a special request to the AGP so he could determine on what grounds the army could act as an arbitrator. The Judge later remarked that the protestors, as well as the leaders present at the dharna, were guilty of blasphemy after videos of them using absurd language appeared online. The hearing for this has been adjourned till the 12th of January.
The IHC expressed its disgust at the terms of the agreement and has also criticized the role the army played during the fiasco.
Having seen all the violence that took place during the apparently ‘peaceful’ protest, it is bizarre to see how all those involved have escaped punishment. The protestors that blocked the cities for three weeks and behaved violently and the police officers that miserably failed to clear up the sit-in in the operation have all seemed to have escaped scot-free. The judiciary seems to be asking all the right questions but will they be able to actually punish the people responsible?