Challenging the challenger: SC requested to restrain PTI from closing capital

Petitioner argues Imran Khan’s rally infringes on public’s fundamental rights


Rizwan Shehzad October 19, 2016
The petitioner writes that the PTI chairman has spent his life playing cricket and setting up a cancer hospital, but lacks legal acumen, knowledge of political science and economics, as well as practical experience in these fields, and is unaware of the requisites of a welfare state. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad is not Imran Khan’s personal estate to close, and the residents of Islamabad are not his slaves to torture unilaterally by calling party workers from all over Pakistan to make their lives miserable while depriving them of their business.

This was just one of the strong statements in an application filed by lawyer Tariq Asad before the Supreme Court as he requested it to restrain the PTI from staging a sit-in and closing Islamabad. He has also called on the apex court to direct the authorities to restrain PTI workers from assembling in Islamabad.

The petition would be taken up on Thursday (today).

He said Khan has no right to force the closure of educational institutions, restrain people from working, or restrain people’s right of movement by blocking roads, while also depriving sick people of access to treatment at hospitals.

Asad asks in the petition whether Khan is above the law and if the organs of the state are helpless before him, adding that it appears as if the PTI chief is free to do whatever he likes to in violation of the fundamental rights of citizens, to destroy the economy, and cause irreparable loss to the public exchequer.

“Imran Khan has no lawful authority to close Islamabad and to infringe the fundamental rights of citizens of Pakistan living in Islamabad,” he stated.

He said that the 2014 Azadi March and its subsequent sit-in caused irreparable losses by generating political and economic instability.

The petitioner writes that the PTI chairman has spent his life playing cricket and setting up a cancer hospital, but lacks legal acumen, knowledge of political science and economics, as well as practical experience in these fields, and is unaware of the requisites of a welfare state.

“He has become over-ambitious [in his desire] to rule the country without having any programme or manifesto and is bent upon creating  political instability in the country,” he added.

Petition in IHC

Meanwhile, Barrister Faisal Khan approached the IHC with a petition similar to the one filed earlier by a citizen through Advocate Hasan Murtaza Mann a few days back.

He has made Federation through the Interior Ministry, the PTI through its chairman, and the Islamabad chief commissioner respondents in the petition.

He has prayed the court to direct the authorities to take all suitable measures, and impose all such reasonable restrictions, to prevent PTI from “paralysing” and “shutting down” Islamabad as it would violate the fundamental rights of the petitioner, as well as the general public.

He also prayed to a suitable, easily accessible and clearly demarcated area within Islamabad, or its outskirts, to PTI for exercising their constitutionally-guaranteed right of political protest while ensuring that the day-to-day functioning of the city, the freedom of movement of the general public, and access to essential commodities and services is not adversely affected.

He has also prayed the court to direct government officials to submit a detailed plan regarding security, traffic, and cellular services among other arrangements to ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of city residents during the protest.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2016.

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