Pakistan SC restrains Imran, Qadri amid political crisis
Islamabad, Aug 20 (IANS) The Pakistan Supreme Court Wednesday restrained Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahir-ul-Qadri from illegal trespassing of prohibited zones even as the PTI agreed to hold talks with the government.
The petition was filed by the Lahore High Court’s Multan Bar Association, Dawn online reported. The petitioner named Imran Khan and Qadri as respondents.
The apex court restrained the respondents from illegal and unlawful trespassing of prohibited zones including the Constitution Avenue, offices of the foreign missions, the Pakistan Secretariat and secretariat offices.
The plea also requested both should be legally banned from conducting any march, including sit-in and civil disobedience, by compromising public peace and tranquillity.
The court observed that every citizen holds the right to protest as per the constitution as long as the protest does not cause any hardship to other citizens.
A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk, had admitted the petition.
Earlier Wednesday, the PTI agreed to hold talks with the government over alleged rigging of the 2013 general elections, Dawn quoted PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi as saying.
“We wish the government had taken our demands seriously,” he said.
“Our strategy is clear, we want to strengthen democracy and not derail it as opposed to the impression that is being given.”
The PTI has a six-point agenda to put forth on the negotiating table, Qureshi said, but did not divulge it to the media.
PAT chief Qadri earlier Wednesday directed his party legislators to lay siege to parliament but appealed to them that “the sanctity of the National Assembly be maintained”.
Qadri also said any person found guilty of attacking army personnel would have no association with him or his party.
Earlier, thousands of activists of the PTI and PAT reached the parliament building, demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation.
Claiming that the 2013 elections were rigged and accusing Sharif of enjoying a “fake mandate”, Imran Khan wanted fresh elections to be held.
The protestors removed all hurdles to reach the “Red Zone” which houses diplomatic missions and other important buildings, including the prime minister’s house.
The Pakistan Army has called for dialogue to resolve the political crisis.
The current “situation requires patience, wisdom and sagacity from all stakeholders”, Xinhua quoted military spokesperson Asim Bajwa as saying and calling for a “meaningful dialogue to resolve the prevailing impasse”.
As the army has been entrusted with the responsibility of securing the “Red Zone”, Bajwa said the buildings in the “Red Zone”, the state symbols, are being protected by the army and “therefore sanctity of these national symbols must be respected”.
Earlier in the day, authorities said the National Assembly session will be held as usual despite thousands of anti-government protesters occupying the area around parliament in Islamabad.