Section 144 imposition: IHC reserves judgement

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday reserved the judgement on the admissibility of a petition against the imposition of Section 144. IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition which had been filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar. Babar Awan, on behalf of petitioner Asad Umar, had appeared before the court.
It had been contended in the petition that imposing Section 144 to curb peaceful protests was unconstitutional. “The British Raj had created this law which is still being used today,” read the text of the petition. “How is the petitioner affected by Section 144? Did anyone stop Asad Umar from taking permission for a peaceful protest?” the IHC chief justice questioned.
“Asad Umar is a leader of the PTI, and he has been engaged in a lot of political activities,” Babar Awan told the court. “In the sit-in case, the Supreme Court has ruled that permission shall have to be taken for a peaceful protest. This party has its government in two provinces. Hasn’t Section 144 been implemented there?” the IHC chief justice questioned further.
“The matter of law and order is to be looked after by the executive. The court will never interfere in it,” Chief Justice Athar Minallah stated. “Does the PTI not have governments in two provinces where Article 144 is applicable? When the PTI was in power, had Section 144 not been in force in Islamabad?” he questioned further.
“This party has its government in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. You should first go to these provinces and get this law repealed by the assemblies. Get the law abolished through assemblies and then come here,” he said to Babar Awan. “The petitioner is a citizen, and he is bound by the court of law. It is written in the law which we cannot violate. This law can be enforced for maximum seven days or two consecutive days in a month,” Babar Awan adopted before the court.