Specific place for the PTI to hold its upcoming protest

ISLAMABAD: Mohammad Yaqoob and Shehzad Ahmed, residents of Islamabad, in their petition adopted that the announcement of the PTI to lock down the federal capital was an infringement on the fundamental rights of the citizens A petition has been filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking directions to the government for designating a specific place for the PTI to hold its upcoming protest in the federal capital.The petition also seeks directions for both the PTI and the federal government to evolve a mechanism for the peaceful protest, at a particular place where fundamental rights of the citizens are not affected like the 2014 sit-ins.


The petition was filed by Barrister Sajeel Shaharyar and Hassan Murtaza Mann advocate.

The petitioners cited the secretary interior and the chairman PTI Imran Khan as respondents.

It may be mentioned that during the hearing of identical petitions filed against the 2014 sit-ins organised by the PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), the federal government had informed the IHC that it was going to designate a specific location for protest demonstrations and other activities.

However, after the protesters disbursed in December 2014, the government shelved the plan.

The latest petition contended that Imran Khan had announced that on October 30 he would lock down the city, which was a threat to the fundamental rights of the citizens.

Addressing his supporters at Raiwind, Imran Khan had announced that after Moharram he would paralyse the federal capital. He also said his workers would occupy roads and entrances to major government offices in the capital.

The petitioners contended that the 2014 sit-in of the PTI had caused a loss of billions of rupees to the country. Besides, 50 schools and colleges remained closed and their buildings were occupied by the Punjab police and Rangers for several months.

The value of Pakistani rupee deteriorated and foreign investment diminished. Moreover, globally, Pakistan was seen as an unstable country with the Chinese president postponing his scheduled visit to Pakistan, the petition added.

It said at a time when India was pressuring Pakistan over the Line of Control (LoC), the lockdown of Islamabad would not send out a good message.

If the PTI stopped the routine city life, it will violate Article 4 and 15 of the Constitution. Under Article 4, one cannot be imprisoned by any person unless in a situation provided by the law. Article 15 is about freedom of movement that is a fundamental right, said the petition.

The petitioners requested the court to direct the Ministry of Interior to provide the PTI with an area where it can protest without disturbing the civic life.

The PTI may also be directed to remain within the boundaries of that particular area, it added.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2016

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