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SC orders govt to provide ground between H9, G9 areas for PTI rally

Justice Ahsan asks whether whole country would be shut down whenever there is a protest

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued directives to the federal government to make available a ground between the H-9 and G-9 areas of Islamabad to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for holding its rally.

The attorney-general Ashtar Ausaf Ali informed the three-member bench hearing the case that the ground, being considered for PTI’s rally, could only accommodate 10,000 people.

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He went on to add that the Sunday bazaar and the Sirinigar Highway were close by to the venue.

However, the bench disregarded the the AGP’s advice and issued directives for the government to provide security to PTI’s rally within three hours.

During the hearing, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan inquired from PTI’s lawyer Babar Awan how long would the gathering go on for? Awan replied that the decision had to be made by the political leadership.

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Justice Ahsan then remarked that the SC could alter its order, amend or withdraw it. He added that the bench will be monitoring the developments.

This comes as the apex court heard a plea filed by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) against the government’s decision to block roads to stop PTI’s ‘Azadi March’ from proceeding today in Islamabad.

A three-member bench of the SC, led by Justice Ahsan, was hearing the plea. Islamabad chief commissioner and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Akbar Nasir Khan appeared before the court.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked the Islamabad chief commissioner to make a traffic plan for PTI’s rally and present a report after following the orders by 2:30pm.

He asked him to offer an alternative venue to PTI for holding their rally. He added the administration should give a proper plan of action which permitted protest but allowed the roads to be open. Justice Ijazul Ahsan demanded that the authorities guarantee that there would not be any violence or closure of roads.

Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi commented that the Islamabad IGP and interior secretary must revisit their policies. He cautioned the IGP to comprehend his responsibilities and carry them out. Justice Ahsan inquired whether the whole country would be closed down whenever there is a protest.

“The government basically wants to disrupt routine life by blocking roads across the country,” the judge remarked.

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