ISLAMABAD  -  The federal government on Thursday in the Faizabad sit-in’s suo moto case contended before the Supreme Court that what had been done was in the best interest of the country.

However, the top court’s two-member bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa questioned the legitimacy of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasoolallah (TLYR) as a political party.

Moreover, the Ministry of Defence submitting its fresh report argued that TLYR’s leaders ‘ought’ to be summoned by the top court for explanation of their speeches and the manner in which they acted during sit-in.

When the hearing commenced, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan informed the bench that a fresh report had been submitted while the government’s formulations were same as these were adopted in earlier proceedings.  “What had been done was in the best interest of country,” AGP told the bench.

To a bench’s query, the AGP said that the TLYR was registered as a political party before the sit-in event under the Political Party Order 2002 and Election Act 2017.  Justice Isa questioned whether an organisation who denied the constitution could register itself as a political party.

AGP responded that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) registered the organisation as a political party adding the protest was a constitutional right but staging it in a manner to paralyse the routine was unconstitutional.  “Unlawful activity for a lawful purpose is still an unlawful activity,” AGP stated. During the hearing, Defence Secretary Ikaramul Haq was also present and stood by rostrum till the completion of proceedings.

Justice Isa also came down hard on PEMRA for not taking action against the complaints the authority received regarding blackout of channels in certain areas of the country. “Are we shy to tell the truth? Is it one Pakistan or many Pakistan,” Justice Isa asked sarcastically and admonished the Director General Operations of PEMRA for telling lie on the face of court that no complaint had been received by any circle regarding curb on media channels.

Justice Isa was perturbed on the blatant lie of PEMRA because in a previous proceedings Advocate Hafiz S.A. Rehman counsel appearing for PEMRA had conceded that the Authority had received complaints on blackout of certain media channels including Geo and Dawn in the country.

“How dare a government functionary who is subsequent to constitution and paid form the taxpayers can stop. You are a citizen, you cannot answer so it is known to everyone,” Justice Isa told the AGP regarding blackout of media. “Today I am feared of my own people,” Justice Isa added. He remarked that it had become the way to shut down a specific channel if it would not follow a specific agenda.  "Do you only want to watch channels that you like?” he further questioned.

“Some people think that they own Pakistan. No, the people of Pakistan own this country. We did not like shutting off media. This country was founded by Quaid-e-Azam and not you people,” Justice Isa grilled the officials before him.  

Later, the top court issued a notice to the AGP and the ECP regarding TLYR’s registration. ECP is also directed to submit the application through which TLYR applied for party registration. The bench also ordered PEMRA to submit a detailed response regarding restrictions placed on news channels. The hearing of the case has been adjourned till the second week of November.