Faizabad sit-in was an attempt to paralyse state: SC

Faizabad sit-in was an attempt to paralyse state: SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that the Faizabad sit-in staged by the Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) was an attack on the Muslims by the Muslims and an attempt to paralyze the state.

A two-member SC bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, which resumed hearing of the suo moto notice case on the sit-in, sought details from the attorney general on the number of lives lost and the damage caused during the sit-in, which had disrupted life in the twin cities for about three weeks.

During the course of proceedings, the ministries of defence and interior, Punjab government and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) submitted their reports on the protest before the court.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that safeguarding the Constitution and its implementation was responsibility of security agencies. “What are IS and IB doing? Why is so much being spent on intelligence agencies?” the judge remarked.

Attorney General (AG) Ashtar Ausaf told the court that nine persons lost their lives in Punjab and three in Sindh during the protests. Some 194 police officers were injured in Islamabad and one even lost his eyes, but no security official was killed during the protest, he added.

Justice Isa asked whether all those, who were killed, were Muslims. This was an attack on the Muslims by the Muslims, he observed as Ashtar Ausaf told the court that many officers were injured during the protest. It caused harm to the identity of Islam, he added.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that it was not the first incident. He expressed the hope that it might be the last one in which an attempt was made to paralyse the state.

Justice Isa asked about the employment status of TLY chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and also raised a question about his source of income and address. A representative of the Ministry of Defence told the bench that all the information was provided in the report.

To a court’s query, the AG replied that an estimated Rs139.5 million damage was caused by the sit-in.

The court, however, expressed its dissatisfaction over the reports. It dismissed the report submitted by PEMRA, observing that the lengthy report was of no value.

Justice Isa remarked that the report did not answer the questions raised by the court and ordered PEMRA to submit another report.

A PEMRA representative sought time to refurbish the report as the post of chairman was vacant.

Justice Mushir Alam asked whether the authority had no power to take action against any television channel without the permission of chairman. The PEMRA official replied that the powers were with the chairman for taking action against any TV channel.

The court was informed that 99 TV channels were working in the country.

The court also sought details regarding the steps taken to control social media.

Later, the case was adjourned for a month.