Apex court disposes of plea against PTI’s long march

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Supreme Court Thursday declared the petition against the long march of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ineffective and disposed it of. “If the situation deteriorates, a new petition can be filed,” the apex court said.
Senator Kamran Murtaza argued before the court that Imran Khan’s long march was continued for two weeks. “According to Fawad Chaudhry, the long march will reach Islamabad on Friday or Saturday,” he told the court. “The life in Islamabad may be affected due to the long march. The long march is the right of the PTI, but the rights of the common man should not be affected,” he emphasised.
“Has the government created any mechanism to regulate protests?” Justice Ayesha Malik questioned. “Do you think that the administration has become so weak that it cannot control the long march? This matter belongs to the executive. You should approach them,” Justice Athar Minallah remarked. “The judiciary can intervene only in exceptional circumstances. When the administration has extensive powers to control such a situation, why should the court interfere?” he added.
“The matter has gone too far. One person lost life in the PTI’s long march which continues for many days,” Kamran Murtaza contended. “Have you approached the administration? Why is so hurry in the case of the long march and what is the negligence of the administration?” Justice Ayesha Malik questioned.
“You have mentioned past violations in the petition. The long march is a political problem that can be solved politically,” Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said to Kamran Murtaza. “Interference in these kinds of issues creates a strange situation for the court. You have mentioned an audio in your application. This audio mentions the bringing of arms. The audio can be true or false, but it can spoil the law and order situation,” the chief justice remarked.
“Did people have weapons in the long march of May 25? The right to protest is not unlimited but subject to the constitutional limits,” he pointed out. “You are saying that the long march is now within the boundaries of Punjab. Have you contacted the Punjab government? If the connection between the province and the federation is severed, can the court intervene?” the chief justice raised a question.
“You are a senator. Strengthen the parliament,” he said to Senator Kamran Murtaza. “I have come to the court in a personal capacity,” Kamran Murtaza replied. “How can you believe that you are also a part of the government and have come in a personal capacity?” Justice Athar Minallah questioned. “It seems that the administration cannot control the situation,” Kamran Murtaza argued.
“Apparently, the intervention of the court in the case of long march would be premature,” Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said. “You want the Supreme Court to play the role of a deputy commissioner,” Justice Athar Minallah added. “The contempt of court case is pending in the larger bench where the parties have to answer for the breach of assurance. Do you want this bench to intervene in the long march case separately?” Justice Ayesha Malik questioned.
“The case of long march is also pending in the Islamabad High Court (IHC),” Justice Athar Minallah said. “Despite the allocation of H9 ground, the long march crowd had come to D-Chowk on May 25. Are you afraid that the incident of May 25 may happen again?” the chief justice inquired. “If someone violates, the executive has extensive powers to control the situation,” Justice Athar Minallah remarked.
“According to you, the powers of the executive are limited to 27 kilometers,” the chief justice inquired further. “Will not the administration and parliament be weakened by the intervention of the judiciary?” Justice Athar Minallah pointed out. “Mobilise the administration to play its role. Every day, there are protests at many places including Parliament in Islamabad. Have you ever gone to the court against the rest of these protests? Why is the intervention of the court necessary in the long march of a particular party?” Justice Ayesha Malik questioned.
“An entire province has been paralysed due to the long march,” Kamran Murtaza said. “You have come to us on an assumption. Has the administration taken any decision regarding the venue for the PTI’s long march?” the chief justice asked from Kamran Murtaza. The court then called Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman to the rostrum. “The administration had asked the PTI to hold the rally in Rawat. The administration sought an affidavit from the PTI, which has not yet been filed,” he told the court.
“This matter is pending in the IHC too. If you give me half an hour, I can take information from the administration,” he added. “If there is a clear threat of constitutional violation, the judiciary will intervene,” the chief justice stated.
“The petition also contains references to the constitutional violations in past,” Kamran Murtaza told the court. “The other side may have its own position on the violations. The matter becomes complicated for the court on violation of the order of the Supreme Court. The court orders are there to be implemented,” the chief justice remarked. The court then disposed of the petition against the long march, declaring it ineffective. “There is no reason for the Supreme Court to issue an order after the stance of Advocate General Islamabad,” it said.