ISLAMABAD- The Supreme Court Wednesday ordered clearance of one side road in front of the Parliament House and the Supreme Court building on the Constitution Avenue by today.
A five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, which heard identical petitions of various bar associations to restrain the state functionaries and the authorities from taking extra-constitutional measures in view of the PAT and PTI sit-ins on Constitution Avenue, dismissed PTI prayer to take suo moto notice of rigging in the last year’s general elections.
Hamid Khan, representing PTI, requested the court to take suo moto notice of rigging in election 2013 and form a commission. The bench asked the PTI counsel why that person who had asked him to request the court to take suo moto files a petition in this regard.
Before the conclusion of the case the court asked the attorney general and the petitioners to visit the Avenue and submit its compliance report today. Attorney General for Pakistan Salman Butt, Registrar SC, President Supreme Court Bar Association Kamran Murtaza along with other lawyers and the PAT and PTI counsels after the hearing reached the Constitution Avenue to examine on ground situation.
The protesters of PTI and PAT have staged sit-ins on the Constitution Avenue since August 19, making the road impassable for government employees. Both the parties have refused to end their protests till the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the dissolution of the National and the Provincial Assemblies.
The attorney general presented a report in the court, which said that the PAT protesters were not ready to clear the roads. However, PAT’s counsel Ali Zafar said the protesters had cleared one side of Constitution Avenue and that there were no obstacles on that side anymore.
The counsels of both parties contended that people are facing hardships due to the containers and asked the court to direct the government to remove them. Upon that Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said placement of containers was due to security reasons, which has been given in the PAT reply.
During the proceeding, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that the issue raised in the petitions was not of clearing Constitution Avenue but of the Constitution and they feel danger to democracy. He remarked: “Four times an orthopedic carried out brain surgery, but now he should be stopped from doing the same for the 5th time.”
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said the implementation of constitution is different in words and deeds, adding the sanctity of constitution was not upheld that spreading anarchy in the country. He inquired from Ali Zafar, according to your reply, if the protesters were not in the control of PAT leadership then clearly inform the court. Ali Zafar argued that the PAT leadership has become voice of millions of Pakistanis. He told that if any protester had stopped someone on the Constitution Avenue then it was his individual act.
Justice Saqib remarked that if a person’s fundamental rights would be violated then it not be an act of an individual.
Justice Jawwad said that it was their duty to provide speedy justice to public but themselves were facing difficulties to reach the court. He said there was limit and way of protest. Ali Zafar said after the speeches of PAT leadership the protesters become emotionally charged and it becomes difficult to control them. Ali Zafar, however, assured the court that one side road on Constitution Avenue in front of the Parliament House and the Supreme Court building will be cleared by Thursday.
Justice Saqib Nisar said, “You continue your protest. Supreme Court would not stop you, neither it can. But don’t use the apex court as laundry to wash the political dirt.” “For God sake follow the constitution.”
Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali asked the PAT counsel, “Do you want a civil war in the country?” If 50,000 persons have gathered today to unseat the government, two lakh will gather next time to dislodge the next government.” “Do you think these steps will help in running the State,” he further asked. The judge said the protesters should also keep others rights in their mind.
The bench ordering to clear one side road on Constitution Avenue adjourned the case for further hearing till today.