IHC holds each section of agreement illegal

FAIZABAD SIT-IN CASE

December 05, 2017

ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court on Monday directed the defence secretary to probe how the name of the chief of army staff has been used in the disputed agreement and identify the persons responsible for embarrassing the institution.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said this while hearing a case regarding the protest sit-in held at the Faizabad Interchange by Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah.

Justice Siddiqui noted in his verdict: “In compliance of the court order dated November 27, 2017, the learned attorney general of Pakistan appeared and, at the very outset, pointed out that since subject matter of these petitions pending before this court are directly or indirectly sub judice before the Supreme Court in a suo motu case No 7 of 2017, propriety demands that no further proceedings in these matters should be conducted until the final judgment is passed by the Supreme Court.”

The bench stated the order passed by the Supreme Court clearly suggests that although some issues raised through these petitions do not find mention in the order of the august court, in utter respect and great reverence to the proceedings pending before the Supreme Court, it would be appropriate that till final decision by the SC, no substantive order may be passed by this court. However, reports called vide order dated 27-11-201 have been submitted by the ICT administration and the Intelligence Bureau’s joint director general.

The IHC verdict said when confronted with the contents of agreement arrived at between the protesters of the sit-in and the government of Pakistan, the learned attorney general submits that in order to make any statement about the same, he may be granted sometime so that the matter may be taken up with the relevant quarters to examine the constitutionality and legality of this agreement .

In its verdict, the bench suggested two options to the attorney general – (i) the so-called agreement may be referred to a joint session of the Parliament for its appreciation to weigh it on the touchstone of the Constitution and law of the land (ii) to be placed before the federal cabinet, including mediators, for the same purpose. The attorney general opted for the second option.

“It is also expected from the defence secretary that probe shall be made on how the name of the chief of army staff has been used in the disputed agreement and the persons responsible for bringing embarrassment to the institution shall be identified,” the IHC verdict noted. During the hearing, Justice Siddiqui observed that each section of the agreement between the Faizabad protesters and the state was unconstitutional. Expressing his astonishment over the agreement , he said how the state could end terrorism charges against some protesters who paralysed the capital and brutally tortured police officials.

Justice Shaukat also made it clear that the court would not endorse the agreement made between the protesters and the state, saying the government accepted the demand of only one side and that the army played the role of a moderator in negotiating the contentious deal.

The bench came down hard on the ‘agreement’ and remarked it was by no means an agreement but was a unilateral surrender to the demands of the protesters. The bench was informed the federal government has waived privilege with regard to the report of Raja Zafarul Haq Committee and it would be submitted before the court.

The bench also asked the attorney general of Pakistan: “Do a favour to this country and rid this country of fatwas (religious decrees) of kufr (being apostate) issued from mosques and seminaries.” “If I do not kiss my thumbs, I can come under fire to a fatwa issued by another school of thought. No one’s life is safe in this country,” Justice Siddiqui said.

He added the matter of blasphemy committed by the protesters during the sit-in at Faizabad also needs to be probed.

Later, the IHC bench deferred the hearing until January 12 for further proceedings.