IHC directs police to avoid harassing political workers

ISLAMABAD, May 24 (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday directed the police to avoid harassing political activists and leaders on a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who heard the case filed by the PTI against the alleged arrest of its workers and closure of roads, also served notices to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Deputy Commissioner Islamabad.

Petitioner’s lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar pleaded that a peaceful protest was the basic constitutional right of every citizen, but the PTI leaders were being arrested across the country through a crackdown.

The chief justice said there was a clear judgment of the Supreme Court in a case pertaining to protest and staging sit-ins. However, the court could not pass an order only on the basis of assumptions, he added.

The lawyer said the activists of a political party could not be stopped from arranging a gathering.

The court said it was giving instructions to implement the laws in light of the judgment of the top court. It asked the petitioner to first avail permission from the district administration for political gathering.

Barrister Ali Zafar said the matter was not related to the permission instead it was related to the arrest of party workers.

The chief justice said the court could not pass a general order. He asked the lawyer whether he could submit an affidavit that no untoward incident would take place and if, otherwise, then he would be responsible.

He said an uncontrolled protest could not be permitted in Islamabad as there were many sensitive offices and embassies. “How will you handle if some miscreants enter the capital under the guise of protesters?” he asked.

The chief justice remarked that the court had given an order during the 2014 sit-in, but after that the PTV and Parliament’s buildings were attacked.

Barrister Ali Zafar said they had approached the court with the request to stop the arrests of his party’s workers. The PTI had given an application to the district magistrate for permission to hold a rally on May 25.

The court adjourned the case till May 27.