ISLAMABAD -  As the twists and turns of the dialogue with protesters keep the government on tenterhooks of suspense despite a clear court order to vacate the sit-in venue at Faizabad, all eyes are set on the Islamabad High Court which will resume hearing of two petitions on the issue today (Monday).

In this regard, the IHC has already clubbed together the two petitions seeking court directives to the Islamabad administration to remove the protesters staging a sit-in at Faizabad Interchange.

On one of the petitions moved by a lawyer, Syed Pervaiz Zahoor, IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had directed the federal capital administration to take all necessary steps required to clear the Faizabad Interchange from the protesters.

The IHC bench had also noted in its verdict that the district magistrate has the authority under the law to seek the assistance of the FC and Rangers to enforce the writ of the state if circumstances so demanded. It said that this task must be completed by Saturday.

However, the government has so far failed to resolve the issue despite several rounds of talks through interlocutors with the leaders of the protesters.

Justice Siddiqui had issued the order on a petition of Zahoor, who had sought court’s intervention against the protesters occupying the Faizabad Interchange for the last two days.

The bench in its three-page verdict had observed that “a previous order was passed with expectancy that as most of the demands of protesters’ of the sit-in have already been met by the Parliament, therefore, by showing grace, the protesters should vacate Faizabad Chowk for traffic flow, but it was so unfortunate that instead of obeying direction of the court, the leadership of protesters/sit-in showed defiance and also used abusive language, which was unprecedented by itself.”

While commenting on the poor performance of the district administration, Justice Siddiqui said that the primary duty of maintaining the law and order by protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens guaranteed by the Constitution was the responsibility of ICT Administration and the police.

“In the present circumstances, I observe with great concern that the district administration not only failed to perform its duty, as was required, rather from the mannerism it appears that the sit-in has been facilitated to put the country into a crisis situation. I failed to understand that when this court has already passed a detailed judgment that any citizen exercising his right of free movement or expression, cannot be allowed to take away other citizens’ rights and reduce the capital territory into a siege area,” says the judgment.

Justice Siddiqui wrote that without guarantee that the protesters will not occupy any other place except the “Democracy Park and Speech Corner, the Islamabad district administration should not have allowed them to enter the ICT, but it was a mystery that the protesters were sitting for the last over 10 days and the district administration was acting like a spectator of a cricket match.

In the second petition, the IHC bench has summoned the Islamabad Inspector General of Police, the chief commissioner and deputy commissioner in person on November 20 to update the court on the issue.

Justice Siddiqui had also directed the secretary ministry of interior to depute a responsible officer not below the rank of additional secretary to appear before the court on November 20 to explain why the law did not take its course in this matter.

Besides issuing the directions, Justice Siddiqui had also asked the respondents to submit a report that what preventive measures were being taken to lead the protestors to the designated place known as Democracy Park and Speech Corner (DP&SC).

The bench had also asked the government functionaries to explain why the law did not take its course to enforce the writ of the government.

The petitioners have prayed to the court that the protestors may be confined to the place adjacent to the Islamabad Highway with the name of “Democracy Park and Speech Corner” as notified in accordance with law.

Another petitioner, Rana Abdul Qayyum advocate moved the court and has cited the Federation through the secretary Ministry of Interior, Inspector General  Islamabad Police, Chief Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Islamabad as respondents.

He adopted that the sit-in under the leadership of Lahore-based cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi was violating fundamental rights of the citizens of Islamabad, Rawalpindi and surrounding areas.

Rana has contended that the participants of the sit-in who had blocked the roads and stopped him while he was returning home situated in Ghuri Town from District Courts Islamabad on November 10.

The petitioner contended that the sit-in has curbed the rights of the people because these non-state actors have blocked the main entry route between Rawalpindi and Islamabad.