LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday reserved its verdict on the petitions regarding the November 2 lockdown call of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf.

A full bench headed by Justice Shahid Hameed Dar heard the arguments. The court also directed Punjab government to submit its reply regarding arrest of PTI’s workers from across the Punjab ahead of Islamabad show.

During the hearing, the bench asked PTI’s counsel Ahmad Awais if the protesters would remain confined to a specific place and that the schools would also remain open on that day. The counsel replied that Khan’s statement was misunderstood. “He (Imran) only meant to say that since a large number of people would be entering the federal capital, it would virtually lead to closure of the city,” the counsel told the court.

He added the party decided to hold protest against corruption after it was revealed that Sharif family had offshore companies. However, the party’s workers were being arrested so that they could not protest, he said.

Barrister Walid Iqbal, the grandson of Pakistan’s national poet Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal, also appeared in the court. He said the protest would be peaceful and would be in accordance with the Constitution. In many foreign countries, Iqbal said, the protests were held against the governments over Panama leaks they were given their right to protest.

But in our country, he held, the government was harassing the protesters. The PTI lawyer said the police stormed in his ancestral house, in sheer violation of law.

At this, Justice Anwarul Haq said it was disrespectful and asked Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf that what action was taken against those police officials. The AGP replied he came to know about this right now.

Justice (r) Nasira Javed Iqbal said she informed the AGP and such incidents were against the law.

Justice Shahid Hameed Dar, the head of the bench, observed that they would issue an order to know what actions were taken against the perpetrators.

AGP Ausaf manitained PTI was protesting against corruption while the matter was in the court, and the SC had issued notice to both parties. He questioned why the PTI was trying to influence the court proceedings by launching protest. On it, the bench remarked that it doesn’t mean that the roads be blocked by putting containers.

The bench further asked the AGP whether the police read court’s orders. PTI’s counsel Ahmad Awais and AGP also exchanged harsh words when the question was asked about the PM’s role in offshore companies.

Ahmad Awais asked the AGP to represent the state and not the PM.

On another petition about Section 144 in Punjab, the petitioner’s counsel said the PTI workers were being arrested in Punjab only while there was no arrest in any other province.

A local citizen Atif Sattar and Goods Transport Association, through his counsel Azhar Siddique, had filed petitions against the protest as well as blockage of roads due to protests.

Countering the petitoner’s counsel, government’s lawyer AK Dogar held that Imran Khan was trying to topple the government “on the signals of third umpire”.

He argued that Imran Khan was committing violation of his oath by making efforts to remove an elected government. Dogar requested the court to stop PTI from launching such protest that subsequently would remove the government.

At this, the bench observed that the removal of an elected government through unconstitutional way comes under Article 5 of the Constitution. The bench reserved the verdict.