The Islamabad Police, Chief Commissioner Islamabad and the interior secretary submitted their report regarding the Supreme Court’s (SC) order violation by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders during the long march. The report submitted on Friday by the Islamabad Police stated that PTI Chairman Imran Khan caused disorder in the federal capital during his party’s “Azadi March”, which took place on May 25.
The federal police further told the top court on Friday that Khan had directed protesters to enter the Red Zone despite a judicial order to hold the jalsa in H-9 ground. No PTI member went there because in a video message, PTI Chairman Imran Khan instructed his party workers to reach D-Chowk.
“The PTI Chairman Imran Khan told his workers to reach the D-Chowk in a video message. The police and law enforcers made every effort to stop the protesters but they advanced removing all containers and barriers on the night between May 25 and 26,” the report stated.
Islamabad Inspector-General (IG) Akbar Nasir Khan also attached video evidence and tweets of the PTI leaders with their report.
The report says that the PTI supporters managed to remove containers and barriers as PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry, Zartaj Gul, Saifullah Niazi and Imran Ismail kept provoking them.
Earlier, the SC sought a report from law enforcement within seven days. The top court also directed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other authorities to submit a report before the court explaining whether the judiciary’s orders were violated on May 25 during the long march.
On June 1st, SC gave its majority judgment after a petition was filed by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in anticipation of a protest march into Islamabad by the workers of the (PTI) on May 25, the federal government had blocked highways to and roads within the Capital to prevent entry and movement of the protestors.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial observed that Pakistani citizens have the right to move and assemble anywhere within the country under Articles 15, 16 and 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan. He also warned the government against any illegal arrests and raids.
However, during the hearing, Attorney-General (AG) Ashtar Ausaf Ali claimed that the PTI workers and supporters moved forward to D-Chowk after their leader [Imran Khan] asked them to.
In its majority judgment, the top court stated: “It is apparent that the assurances conveyed to the court by the learned counsel for the top leadership of the PTI may have been dishonoured by the workers/supporters/sympathisers of the party by proceeding to the D-Chowk in the Red Zone area and by allegedly committing acts of arson and destruction of public and private properties on the way. However, we note that in the early morning today Mr Imran Khan reached Jinnah Avenue leading to D-Chowk and announced the postponement of his sit-in at Islamabad for six days. As a result, further damage to property or injury to human life has been averted.”
The judgment also added, “there is no evidence or allegation that such acts were committed on the instigation of any party or happened randomly.”
“At its most elementary level, the PTI leader appears to have assured the holding of a political rally at the G-9/H-9 ground and therefore not to assemble and sit in another venue including at D-Chowk in G-5 Islamabad.”
’ Not withstanding the said request by the AGP, we exercise restraint for the time being for several reasons’: SC
The court also said it was “disappointed” to note that riots took place in the federal capital despite its order to create a balance between both sides, PTI and the government.
The court further added that peaceful protest is a constitutional right but PTI could have done it with the permission of the state. As long as sanctions under Articles 15 and 16 are inevitable, the right to protest cannot be restrained without legal, reasonable grounds.
However, Justice Yahya Afridi wrote a dissenting note. He quoted Khan’s statement after the court order: “Wherever Pakistanis are, there is good news: the Supreme Court has issued an order that there will be no hurdles and no one will be arrested. This is why I want all Pakistanis to come out of their homes today evening; people in Islamabad and Rawalpindi should try their best to reach D-Chowk because I will reach there within one-and-a-half-hour.”
Justice Afridi said that there is sufficient material before the court to proceed against Khan “for the alleged disobedience of the court order which warrants the issuance of notice by this court to Mr Imran Khan to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.”