ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday while hearing a petition regarding possibility of extra constitutional steps on the pretext of country’s prevailing political turmoil remarked that people who are struggling for justice are standing in its way.
The five member larger bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Mushir Alam heard the identical petitions filed by the presidents of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and High Court Bar Association, Multan Bench seeking the apex court’s direction that no authority or state functionaries take any extra-constitutional steps in the prevailing political situation.
During today’s proceedings, Imran Khan’s counsel Hamid Khan appeared before the bench, whereas no representative from PAT showed up. The Chief Justice expressed his displeasure over non appearance of PAT representative,saying that PAT Secretary General had received the court summons.
Attorney General (AG), Salman Aslam Butt, also appeared before the bench and requested the CJP to issue orders or at least give a written or verbal observation against PAT’s sit-in on Shahrah-e-Dastoor outside the Parliament, saying the protest has paralyzed the federal capital.
To this, the CJ remarked that no orders could be issued on the situation in Islamabad as it was an administrative matter for which the government was responsible.
The court remarked that masses are facing difficulties in coming to the court and asked them to keep in mind that free movement is a fundamental right of the citizens.
Hamid Khan told the bench that PTI is a peace observing party and is against any unconstitutional step. On this, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked that both parties should step back few yards from the Constitution Avenue and respect the citizens fundamental rights while maintaining their political stance.
Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali remarked that government and protesting parties should avoid using derogatory language against the country’s leadership. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked that despite all claims of respecting the constitution, the avenue is blocked due to PTI and PAT sit-ins. He said that marchers claim that they want justice but they have blocked access road leading to the Supreme Court.
Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that court did not want to become part of the political conflict as protest is a constitutional right of every citizen but others also have the right to move freely.
Hamid Khan requested the court to grant more time to file his written response, saying that he could not prepare his client’s response since he received the summon late night.
The court granted him time till tomorrow (Friday) to submit his reply and adjourned hearing of the case till tomorrow.
Chief of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Dr. Tahir-ul, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan, who have been leading protestors in Islamabad since Friday, were served notices by the apex court on Wednesday to appear today and explain their anti-government protests.
The bench has already observed that the apex court can rule against any unconstitutional measure to protect supremacy of the Constitution.