IHC reserves verdict in PTI plea against govt's delay in issuing protest NOC

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday reserved its judgement on a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) plea against the government's delay in issuing a no objection certificate (NOC) to the party for a sit-in and protest in the federal capital.

During the hearing presided by Justice Aamer Farooq,  Advocate General Islamabad Jahangir Khan Jadoon started his arguments by reading the Supreme Court (SC) judgment of May 25.

Jadoon then read the reply submitted by PTI Chairman Imran Khan to the SC and stated that the government "does not trust them [PTI] because retract their statement within half an hour”.

Read: IHC summons govt official over delay in long march NOC to PTI

The court then inquired about the general procedure for granting permission to rallies, to which the advocate general said that as per notm, it is usually assured by the party.

“The rally they held [on May 25] had damaged infrastructure and injured policemen,” added Jadoon.

To this Justice Faroooq replied, “Whatever the lawyer says, he does it on behalf of the client,” and asked if it “is the same place where they [PTI] had sought permission earlier?”

“Yes, but they have always violated terms and conditions, we are not trusting them. For them, we have reserved the area of D-Chowk, they can hold this rally there if they want," said Jadoon in reply. 

PTI's counsel Babar Awan then began his arguments and said Jadoon should not have spoken about a subjudice matter and refused to comment on the issue.

Awan said that the area of D-Chowk mentioned by the government's cousel is the red zone of the federal capital which has been further extended. 

The court asked the party's counsel what assurances were there that similar events from the earlier protest will not be repeated and also asked who will take responsibility if the PTI is allowed to protest at the spot. 

To this, Awan replied that the PTI will be responsible as the petition was filed by Ali Awan – a party representative. 

The advocate general maintained that they cannot trust Awan until they contact the former prime minister. He also stressed that they need to get a fixed date of the party’s long march entering the capital.

“Now, they are saying that they will stay for ten months. They have to tell us a fixed date,” he added.

"Yesterday, you [Awan] said the date would be either Nov 6 or Nov 7, and later you said something else. You have to clarify," said Justice Farooq. 

“The PTI rally will arrive around November 10,” Awan replied.

Expressing displeasure, the justice said PTI's counsel needed to "make it clear". He also asked the party to ensure that law and order was maintained at the site alloted to them for the protest once the long march enters Islamabad. 

Also read: PTI violation of May 25 verdict irks SC

The court further stated that measures should be taken to ensure that roads are not blocked and people do not face difficulties, further telling PTI's counsel that "protests is PTI's right, but the rights of citizens must also be ensure".

"In its orders, the Supreme Court has set the limits and restrictions of the protest rally, which is for the protection of the people," added the IHC CJ.

The affidavit

The Islamabad administration prepared a 39-page affidavit which was submitted by the Advocate General Islamabad from the high court.

The administration demanded that PTI chief must sign the affidavit.

Part of the conditions include:

The rally will be allowed for one day
The use of loudspeakers in the meeting shall be prohibited
Rhetoric related to religion will be avoided in the meeting
There will be no weapons in the rally
No national or party flag should be burnt in the rally/march
12 persons on the PTI stage also subject to the permission of the administration
The list of top leadership on the container is also willing to set the management

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