Top court rejects PEMRA, ISI and ECP’s replies in the Faizabad sit-in case

Photo: AFP

The Supreme Court has rejected the replies of its media regulatory body, intelligence agency and the election commission in the Faizabad sit-in case.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that billions of rupees worth of losses were incurred due to the sit-ins. No one is willing to take responsibility, he remarked. “Should we summon the ISI DG or defence secretary?”

In its report, the ISI stated that it was not responsible for the sit-ins, he remarked. “Is there any law regulating the ISI?” he asked.

“Are they not able to [find out] about someone’s bank account? When we asked about income tax, responsibility was shifted onto the FBR. If this is not your work then feel free to go home,” Justice Isa remarked.

Related: SC displeased over abusive language as Faizabad protest enters 18th day

Was there any point of the blood that was shed in Karachi on May 12, 2007, asked the judge. “Fifty people were killed and many others injured, but that case has become the past now.”

Violence had broken out when former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was suspended at the time, arrived in Karachi to address a lawyers’ convention and a bar association meeting for the 50th anniversary of the Sindh High Court Bar Association. Gun fights broke out in the city with political party activists on both sides openly fighting.

The judge then inquired about the absence of the attorney general. The additional attorney general said that the chief justice had ordered him to appear in Lahore.

Related: ISI wasn’t behind Tehreek Labbaik’s Faizabad dharna, defence ministry tells SC

“The chief justice doesn’t order anyone, rather he summons them,” said Justice Isa. The entire country was locked down, he said, asking where a more important case was being heard in Lahore.

In November 2017, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan staged a 21-day sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad against a minor change in the oath lawmakers take. The sit-in ended only after the military acted as a mediator for an agreement to end the protest and the PML-N government removed its law minister, Zahid Hamid.

On October 11, the ISI rejected rumours that it was behind a 21-day sit-in.

“A false impression was created that the ISI was behind the dharna and fake stories were created that the ISI was sustaining the protesters,” the defence ministry said in its report. “In reality, the ISI made every effort to support the government in a peaceful resolution of the issue.”