The Supreme Court has questioned the alleged role of Intelligence agencies and media in the Faizabad sit-in. Today, a two-member bench of the Apex Court, while hearing a case on disturbance of public life enquired about the government’s inadequate response to the protest. It also came down hard on media and ISI over its role in the sit-in that paralysed the twin-cities for nearly three weeks.
On Thursday, on behalf of the Islamabad Inspector General Police (IGP) Khalid Khattak, a nine-page report was submitted to the Apex Court. While reviewing the report, Justice Mushir Alam asked Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mahmood “How did the protesters get teargas shells and sticks?” He asked if you can’t secure the capital of the country then how will you defend the entire nation.
The IHC and now the Apex Court has taken a commendable stance as it not only questions the personal agendas of politicians but also entire government institutions.
The other judge of the two-member bench, Justice Isa criticised the intelligence agencies and grilled them for staying silent over the matter. He asked, “Why is the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) representative not here?” He continued his tirade at the agencies and lamented them for failing to perform their responsibilities. What were they up to when the violent protests erupted all over the country? He remarked.
Earlier in the week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had asked the government to satisfy the court on the role of the armed forces as an arbitrator in the agreement signed between the protestors and the government. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had put forward the number of questions and showed serious reservations at the role played by the Army chief and the major general in resolving the dispute. The court had asked, “Where does the law assign this role [mediator] to a major general? And why does the actual document signed by the interior minister say that the matter has been resolved with the efforts of the Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa?
Read more: Were the protestors in Faizabad peaceful?
The honourable judges also criticised media for its alleged role in hate-mongering. They proclaimed the government worked ineffectively and took no action against the media. The Court asked, “Should we close a few media channels”. It further asked, ‘Where is PEMRA?”
If divided media outlets based on allegiances with different political rivals will continue to implode society with compromised news, it could prove ominous.
The media has become increasingly controversial and takes evidently clear sides of the favored political parties.
With certain media groups showing allegiances to particular political parties of their choice, it gives unrealistic and compromised information to the public, which could severely damage the information quality and the right of the viewer to know an accurate and fair viewpoint is denied.
Impartial news coverage could only serve the purpose for this divided nation. If divided media outlets based on allegiances with different political rivals will continue to implode society with compromised news, it could prove ominous. It is not a surprise that the Apex Court has questioned the media meddling and unfair reporting. Media houses and regulators must put their act together to show true greater allegiance and commitment to their homeland.
A two-member bench of the Apex Court, while hearing a case on disturbance of public life enquired about the government’s inadequate response to the protest.
Though the court had shown reservation about how the entire episode came to its climax, the manner in which all the disputes were resolved apparently makes a mockery of the system and discredits the power of the civil administration and democratically elected government.
The scrutiny of this 20-day long drama highlighted many aspects of the actual system at work in Pakistan, where it depicts the strength of the Mullahs (religious scholars) at the same time, it demonstrates the power of the Army and its deep penetration into the system and strong ties with the various religious groups.
The IHC and now the Apex Court has taken a commendable stance as it not only questions the personal agendas of politicians but also entire government institutions. Since the army also works under the government, it should also be held responsible for not acting swiftly to establish the writ of the state.