The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday dismissed a petition seeking to initiate high treason proceedings against leaders of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) for delivering speeches against the judiciary and the armed forces in the name of protest.

Justice Atir Mahmood of LHC dismissed the petition filed by Shabbirullah Khan and observed that the Supreme Court had already taken suo motu notice of the issue, while the government also took cognizance of the vandalism caused during the recent protests.

The judge further observed that it was prerogative of the federal government to initiate high treason proceedings. And the petitioner should have approached the appropriate forum instead of increasing workload on the court by filing such unnecessary petitions.

A citizen, Shabbirullah Khan, filed the petition pleading that both political leaders had been continuously using derogatory language against the judiciary and armed forces, which was tantamount to committing the offence of high treason.

He added that the TLP central leadership including Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Pir Afzal Qadri, Waheed Anwar as well as Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F violated article 6 of the Constitution in the name of protest.

The petitioner contended that under High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 only the federal government was empowered to initiate treason proceedings. Therefore, he asked the court to direct the federal government to initiate proceedings against the TLP and JUI-F leaders under the charges of high treason.