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IHC lambastes Ahsan Iqbal and Army Chief for their role in Islamabad fiasco


News Analysis |

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday lashed out at the federal government as well as the Army for mishandling the sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui stated that the Army chief, instead of following the orders of the chief executive became a mediator. He was referring to the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s advice to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to “handle the Islamabad dharna peacefully”.

Justice Aziz added that the Army should have followed the orders of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces instead of advising him on this sensitive matter. “Where is their Radd-ul-Fasaad now? Did they not see any Fasaad (anarchy) in this protest? Who is the Army to adopt a mediator’s role? Where does the law assign this role to a major general?” inquired the judge.

A student of NUML, stated that “the normal time for me to reach university from my home was 45 minutes maximum. Now it takes me more than two hours to reach my university”.

In response to this, Ahsan Iqbal stated that “Security officials were being attacked every day. Motorways, railways, and cities were being closed. There was a conspiracy to show that a nuclear-state was failing. The agreement was reached with the protesters to bring the country out of those circumstances”.

Justice Aziz responded by saying that “Iqbal sahib, you have embarrassed the police and the administration. You [the institutions] are destroying the state in your bid to make each other look bad. What role did the Rangers fulfill? You are supporting the impression that the Army is the cure for all illnesses.”

Read more: Dharna Crisis: Mystery surrounds government actions

Justice Aziz also lambasted the Intelligence Bureau and Islamabad Police for its poor response to the protracted sit-in. The hearing was adjourned until next Monday.

These heated arguments by the honorable judge represent the frustration and anger of the residents of twin cities whose lives were crippled due to this sit-in.

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday lashed out at the federal government as well as the Army for mishandling the sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange.

GVS talked to the residents of the twin cities who felt dejected and ignored in the three-week long sit-in by a religious party. Nosheen Akhtar, a mother of two and a resident of Sector I-8, said that “We felt as if some foreign invaders had occupied our city. We could not move freely. Mobile signals were also jammed and my kids lived in fear for three weeks”.

Umer Hayat, a taxi driver stated that he and hundreds of other taxi drivers in Islamabad were adversely affected by this sit-in. “I work from 6 am to 9 pm. In these days, I hardly earn 300 to 400 rupees which are less than the cost of my car’s fuel. How will I feed my family who solely depends on my earnings.”

Read more: Is Faizabad crisis turning into Red Mosque 2.0?

Meanwhile, Faisal Nadeem, a resident of Dhok Fazal Rawalpindi and a student of NUML, stated that “the normal time for me to reach university from my home was 45 minutes maximum. Now it takes me more than two hours to reach my university”.

Residents criticized both the government and the protestors for the sufferings they had to endure.