SC hears multiple review petitions against Faizabad sit-in

SC hears multiple review petitions against Faizabad sit-in

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Supreme Court (SC) is hearing multiple review petitions challenging the verdict on the Faizabad sit-in staged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in 2017 against the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Aminuddin and Justice Athar Minallah is hearing the petitions.

Meanwhile, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (PEMRA) and the the federal government on Thursday also decided to withdraw their petitions against the Supreme Court’s (SC) 2019 verdict on Faizabad sit-in.

Last week, the apex court decided to revisit the Faizabad sit-in case on September 28 following a series of review petitions submitted against its previous ruling.

The review petitions were filed by the Ministry of Defence, the IB, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the PEMRA, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and Ejazul Haq.

The IB and PEMRA had already submitted miscellaneous petitions before the apex court seeking permission to withdraw their review plea, saying they did not want to further defend the case. 

The separate petitions stated that the Faizabad dharna case review had been fixed for hearing on September 28. Since the IB and PEMRA did not wish to defend their review petitions, they sought permission to withdraw them. 

The IB’s review petition also urged the court to set aside the adverse observations made against the department in written judgement, adding that it was a premier civilian intelligence agency which was responsible for state security.

The petition also said that order created “bad impression” on the public that the IB was involved in unlawful activities and politics. It had said the department was in close contact with the federal and Punjab governments and forewarned them about the plans and intentions of the TLP, with a view to foiling their attempt to storm/lock down Islamabad.

Meanwhile, in response, the defence ministry had requested the court to set aside the explicit or implicit observations about the armed forces and/or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Rasheed’s lawyer has also sought adjournment of today’s hearing saying his client was not in custody and could not be contacted.

Besides the IB, PEMRA and Sheikh Rasheed, eight review petitions, including by the election commission, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and MQM, had been filed. 

All of this development goes back to November 2017, when the SC took suo motu notice of the three-week-long sit-in by TLP on Faizabad Interchange, which was held against a change in the finality-of-Prophethood oath, in the Elections Act 2017. The sit-in was called off after the protesters reached an agreement with the government.

A year later on November 22, 2018, a two-judge bench consisting of Justice Isa and Justice Mushir Alam reserved their ruling.

On February 6, 2019, the Supreme Court’s two-member bench of the apex court comprising the now-CJP Isa and Justice Mushir Alam issued a 43-page judgement.

The then-federal government, along with other petitioners, filed review pleas contesting the apex court's judgement delivered by the incumbent Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa regarding the Faizabad sit-in case.