ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday directed the acting chief commissioner of the capital, Mujahid Sherdil, to meet Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri and discuss the protection of fundamental rights of citizens.
Justice Athar Minallah gave the directions while hearing a petition filed by the capital’s traders against the Azadi and Inqilab marches of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).
The court directed the PAT and PTI chiefs, as well as the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration, to ensure that fundamental rights of citizens may not be encroached upon due to the ongoing sit-in.
Justice Minallah directed the capital administration to set up a helpline for the information of citizens facing hardships in areas where protests are under way.
Aabpara Traders Association President Ajmal Baloch has asked the court to stop the Azadi and Inqilab marches as it is creating great hurdles for the smooth running of business and are thus encroaching fundamental rights of citizens.
Earlier, Justice Minallah observed that because of the two sit-ins, security measures, including sealing of the Red Zone, have made life difficult for residents.
“The protests are affecting fundamental rights, including the rights of trade, movement, education, protection of life and property and travelling abroad,” he observed.
Ikram Chaudhry, counsel for the petitioner, argued before the court that the government should not have permitted PTI and PAT to convene their gathering at Aabpara and Khayaban-i-Suharwardy.
“Aabpara is the busiest market of the federal capital. The protesters should have been stopped outside Islamabad to lodge their protests,” he said.
He urged the court to direct the administration to remove containers and barriers from the main arteries enabling citizens to move freely for their routine business.
The additional advocate general told the court that the government would consider the demand of allocating a specified area for the protesters.
Islamabad Acting Chief Commissioner Mujahid Sherdil was asked whether recent activities in the capital have brought life to a standstill.
“The citizens cannot go to important public departments. Those students and others who intend to travel abroad have also been stuck,” the court observed.
Justice Minallah directed the local administration to submit a report and adjourned hearing till Monday, August 25.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th,2014.