ISLAMABAD: Total six parties, which had filed review petitions against the Supreme Court’s judgement in Faizabad sit-in case, have now informed the apex court that they are no longer interested in pursuing their pleas and want to withdraw them.
After the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), the other four were the federal government, PTI, the ECP and AML chief Sheikh Rasheed, who on Thursday sought to withdraw their review petitions in the case.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), and also comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Ameenuddin Khan, heard the case.
The CJP, on the occasion, asked the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Usman Mansoor as to what was the reason behind the government’s decision to withdraw the petition. “Nothing. We only want to take our plea back,” the AG replied.
Justice Isa asked the government to file a written reply for that.
He regretted that programmes were aired on news channels on the cases which were sub judice.
The chief justice remarked that the bench would give its decision after listening to arguments from all lawyers.
He wondered as to what were the flaws in the SC’s verdict in the case as had been pointed in review petitions. “Now please tell me what were the flaws which had been pointed out by those very petitioners who have now decided to withdraw their pleas?” the CJP questioned.
He said a person admitting his mistakes was a great man. “By withdrawing the review petitions, one cannot say let’s bury the hatchet,” he said, and asked, “Could the incidents of violence that took place in Karachi on May 12, 2007 be hushed up?”
He made it clear to the AGP that he could not get the chapter closed merely by withdrawing the petition.
He recalled that the entire nation remained in a tense situation due to the sit-in.
Justice Isa then asked whether the apex court’s verdict, which it had given in 2019, had been implemented. “Everybody seems scared. Why does not somebody tell the truth,” he questioned.
“Everybody should be held accountable, including me,” the chief justice said, adding, “Nobody should negate the importance of accountability.” zed.
Justice Isa remarked that interestingly the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which ought to have filed the petition, did not file it. “May be Khadim Hussain Rizvi sab was satisfied with our decision when he was alive,” the CJP surmised.
The court then adjourned the case’s hearing until November 1, and directed the lawyers to submit their written submissions by October 27.
Counsel for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) told the bench that the ECP had implemented the apex court’s verdict.
Justice Isa asked as to what was the reason that now the election commission was not interested in pursuing the case.
The lawyer replied that the ECP officials who had filed the petition at that time were now retired.
The chief justice asked as to what he meant by the word ‘retired’. “Change of faces does not mean the entire institution or the government has changed. There is no concept of old and new institutions,” he remarked.
The CJP recalled that when at that time the defence secretary was asked as to what steps the government had taken to disperse participants of the sit-in, he replied that it was not government’s job to disperse them. “At that time when the country was bleeding, the secretary’s reply was astonishing,” he said, and asked the ECP’s lawyer as to on whose orders the election commission had filed the petition in the SC.
“It happens in orchestra that a band is playing music and a person is standing in front of it, giving directions,” Justice Isa said, and asked as to who was pulling the strings at that time. “Was the ECP being dictated then, or it is being dictated now? The court wants to know the reality,” he said, and regretted that what happened in Pakistan was totally different from the rest of the world.
The chief justice said sadly it was said in Pakistan that ‘the instructions have come from the top’. “It gives the impression as if whatever happens in the country is not because of Divine intervention but because of human intervention,” he remarked.
Justice Isa made it clear that the apex court would not let any institution use courts for its own benefits. “Last prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) had forbidden us from lying. At least we must admit we made a mistake in this case,” he asserted, and added, “Let us confess that the election commission acted on somebody’s orders.”
The ECP must inform me as to on whose order, it had filed the review plea,” the CJP asked.
Now, he went on to say, when the ECP was independent, it should be bold enough to disclose as to who was controlling it at that time.
Then addressing the AGP, the chief justice said, “The bench wants to know from you as to who had arranged the TLP’s sit-in in 2019.”
Justice Isa said unfortunately lessons had not been learnt from the incidents of violence of May 12, 2007. “Sadly, the culture of militant outfits is still being promoted,” he observed.
The court issued a notice to the MQM-P as its lawyer failed to show up.
The chief justice said that unlike Pakistan, war prisoners in other countries underwent trials even 80 years after the war was over.
Justice Isa dispelled the impression that the court was degrading the state institutions. “In fact, we are strengthening them and increasing their prestige in the eyes of others,” he emphasized.
Towards the end, the judge quoted verses from Surae Tauba of the holy Quran.
He made it clear that the bench had not yet given its verdict on the withdrawal of petitions.
Earlier, after Intelligence Bureau and Pemra, the federal government has decided to withdraw the review petition against the Faizabad sit-in case judgement.
“We are withdrawing the review petition against the Faizabad sit-in case judgement,” Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman said.
“The government has decided not to pursue the case. A plea for non-pursuance will be filed,” he added.
It is to be noted here that the federal government filed the review petition through the Ministry of Defence.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Pemra also filed a miscellaneous petition in the Supreme Court to withdraw the review petition against the judgement in the Faizabad sit-in case.
“The miscellaneous petition should be approved and the review petition should be allowed to be withdrawn,” the petition pleaded with the Supreme Court.
“The review petition against the Faizabad sit-in judgement is pending review. The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on the review petition on September 28. Pemra does not want to pursue the revision petition,” it stated.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) also urged the apex court to allow it to withdraw its review petition against the Faizabad sit-in case judgement.