ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday directed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek to clear by Tuesday (today) Constitution Avenue blocked for almost a week due to their sit-ins.
A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, which heard petitions of SCBA and various bar counsels regarding sit-ins, hoped the judges and lawyers might be coming to the Supreme Court through Constitution Avenue by tomorrow instead of adopting a long route. “There should be free movement of people on the Avenue by Tuesday (today),” the CJP said.
Due to the sit-ins the Election Commission of Pakistan, Federal Shariat Court and many offices on the Constitution Avenue stood virtually closed for the last one week. The chief justice asked the counsels for PTI and PAT if they had seen photographs showing the protesters hanging clothes on the Supreme Court board and checking the cards of the apex court staff and harassing them. As the court was hearing the case, sound of the music being played loudly at the sit-in was audible in the courtroom as well and the judges felt disturbed.
The court brought these things into the notice of the attorney general of Pakistan and the counsels for PTI and PAT. They agreed to meet and get the Constitution Avenue cleared.
The sources told The Nation that the first round of talks between them was held in the Supreme Court building while the second round will be held in the evening after PTI and PAT counsels get instructions from their clients.
The court wanted the parties to clear the Avenue by themselves without any formal order. The court directed them to submit the report in this regard tomorrow (Tuesday).
Counsel for PTI, Hamid Khan, said its workers were not doing all that. Barrister Ali Zafar, representing PAT, said he felt bad when it came to his knowledge. He also denied that the PAT protesters were involved in checking of cards of the staff and harassment.
Referring to Imran Khan’s statement, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja questioned who the third empire was. He was that if his demands were not met, the ‘third empire’ would raise his finger. He further questioned whether the ‘third-empire’ was army.
Justice Jawwad observed that the Supreme Court in its judgment last year had said that Dr Tahirul Qadir had Canadian citizenship. He questioned whether he was still holding Canadian nationality.
Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said if both the parties (PTI and PAT) claimed their protests were peaceful, why their workers were carrying batons. The judge said if their demonstrations were peaceful, then those could be held anywhere else, not necessarily on Constitution Avenue.
Hamid Khan said: “We (PTI) are already on the Parade Ground and will stay there. Our protest is creating no obstruction for the people.” PAT’s counsel Ali Zafar said: “We (PAT workers) will be on the roadside and will not block the road.” Attorney General Salman Butt informed the court that they could provide to them alternate place in Sports Complex which was very big.
Justice Saqib Nisar asked the PTI and PAT counsels that their leaders had the rights to say whatever they liked, but they would have to clear the Constitution Avenue. “If they talk about rights, they should also know about their duties.”
The judge said pregnant women in emergency and the persons who heart problems couldn’t be taken to hospital through this way due to the sit-ins. He said if anyone violated others’ rights, the Supreme Court under Article 184 (3) had the jurisdiction to guarantee the fundamental rights.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja asked the attorney general why it was necessary to allocate a place for protest to PTI and PAT. Justice Saqib Nisar said the government also did not have the right to place containers to block the roads wherever it wanted.
The case was adjourned till August 27.