PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday asked the federal government to submit its reply on a petition asking the court to declare illegal registration of cases against the PTI workers, as well as torture on them by Punjab police on October 31 when they were marching to Islamabad to participate in a planned lockdown of the capital.
The PHC bench, headed by Chief Justice Yahya Afridi, also made Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Inspector General Police (IGP) Nasir Khan Durrani a party in the case and directed him to submit his reply.
K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and Health Minister Shahram Tarakai filed the petition against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif and Punjab IGP for stopping the PTI workers from entering Punjab and subjecting them to severe baton-charge.
When the hearing commenced, the bench asked about maintainability of the petition. CM Khattak’s attorney Babar Awan replied in the affirmative and said the Punjab police violated the K-P’s jurisdiction and crossed into the K-P near the Swabi interchange on the Motorway where they baton-charged the peaceful workers. He also showed press clippings to the bench.
The petitioner asked the PHC to declare shelling, torturing and blockade of roads by the respondents as illegal and contended that the PTI workers were exercising their fundamental right to join a peaceful assembly in the federal capital.
It said peaceful and unarmed PTI workers gathered at the Swabi-Interchange where CM Khattak and the provincial assembly’s speaker Asad Qaiser addressed them and they started marching peacefully towards Islamabad.
However, it said, the Punjab police – on order of federal and Punjab government – resorted to indiscriminate baton-charge and teargas shelling ‘without lawful cause’.
It said during the rally hundreds of people were arrested and sent to jail and baseless FIRs were registered against them at the police stations of Islamabad. Terming the action of the federal government unlawful, the writ adopted that it was in violation of Article 2 of the Constitution.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2017.