LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday took up a petition seeking directions for registration of a criminal case against Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and issued notice to the interior secretary to appear on October 29.

Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti took up the petition filed by Muhammad Kashif and told the court staff to club identical petitions for hearing.

On behalf of the petitioner, a counsel submitted that the JUI-F chief had announced staging a sit-in in the federal capital so as to topple the government. He said the JUI-F chief was instigating people and this act of him amounts to a serious offence. He submitted that Fazl had created an armed group in violation of Article 123 of the Constitution and the National Action Plan.

He submitted that the petitioner moved an application to the interior secretary for registration of a case against the JUI-F chief but no action had been taken so far. He pleaded in the court that the interior secretary should decide his application immediately and order registration of a case against the JUI-F chief.

A day earlier, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti of the Lahore High Court had remarked in another identical petition that protests and sit-ins were part of a democratic system. The court had observed that such activities could not be controlled through judicial orders.

These petitions were filed against a private force (Ansar-ul-Islam) formed by the JUI-F chief and the proposed Azadi March.

One of the petitions submits that no private organisation has been allowed to function as a military group. It termed it as an offence under Private Military Organisations (Abolition and Prohibition) Act, 1974.