A full bench of Lahore High Court restraining Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) from holding ‘long march’ or a sit-in at Islamabad in any unconstitutional manner observed that prima facie “demands raised by the Chairman PTI and Chairman PAT are in violation of the constitution”. Announcing its detailed order here on Thursday, the bench admitted the petitions against ‘long march’ for a regular hearing and adjourned the further hearing to September 12.
The bench observed that any violation of the constitution by the protestors and their leaders would expose them to legal consequences. The bench also directed both the leaders to submit their statements and necessary documents till next date of hearing. The petitioner, the chairman of an organisation namely “Move on Pakistan”, contended that the respondents PTI and PAT have decided to launch ‘Azadi March’ and ‘Inqilab March’ as they seek the resignation of Prime Minister of Pakistan, dissolution of Parliament, reconstitution of the Election Commission and formation of an Interim government of technocrats.
And in case their demands are not accepted, they will continue with their sit-in in Islamabad’s D-Chowk and they will choke the entire system unless their demands are accepted. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the Chairman PTI Imran Khan has warned of shutting down the entire country if any attempt was made to put him under house arrest.
Attorney General for Pakistan said the present government is duly elected under the constitution with a mandate of 190 seats out of 342 seats. The prime minister was elected by 244 votes out of total poll of 294 cast votes and enjoys confidence of the house. Therefore the question of resignation does not arise. The prime minister invited Imran Khan and his leaders with open an mind for a dialogue.
According to the Attorney General, although the demands of respondents are not legitimate but for the sake of country government has accepted the same. Hence the respondent is bound to call off the long march. Attorney General further submitted that the respondent Chairman PAT Dr Tahirul Qadri is alien to the Parliament and is trying to launch a protest full of violence. Due to violence of respondent’s party men, seven police officials have already been killed.
A. K. Dogar, counsel for Lawyers Foundation for Justice (Regd.) submitted that the present government is the creation of general election and under the constitution, election once held cannot be called in question except through election petitions. He submitted that the respondent is also a part of parliament and as such they are bound to remain loyal and faithful to the state.
A. K. Dogar, further submitted that state is duty bound to protect the life and property of its citizens and if the political party refused to talk and resort to street agitation, it will be operating in a manner prejudicial to the integrity of the Pakistan. The counsel for respondents submitted that the heads of the parties are ready to ensure that their protest, ‘long march’ and ‘Inqilab march’ will be peaceful and free of violence.
The court viewed the interview of Imran Khan in the open court. The bench observed that “We have gone through the record available with us and also watched the national address of the Prime Minister as well as an interview of Imran Khan, with a TV channel. The bench observed that prima facie “demands raised by the Chairman PTI and Chairman PAT are in violation of the constitution”. It admitted the petitions for regular hearing.