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SC rejects govt’s request to immediately stop PTI’s long march, advises talks with Imran Khan

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  • CJP heads 5-member bench to hear govt’s contempt plea against Khan.
  • No one can be deprived of the right to protest, chief justice says.
  • SC orders PTI chief, his lawyers to submit answers by October 31.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the federal government’s request to immediately stop PTI chief Imran Khan’s long march to Islamabad, with Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial advising the government to hold talks with the former prime minister. 

The federal government filed a contempt of court plea against the PTI chairman in the Supreme Court over his long march to the federal capital. 

In its petition, the government said, “Imran Khan is making announcements to attack Islamabad”, which it claimed was a violation of a court order. It urged the apex court to direct the PTI chief to ensure the implementation of its orders related to protests and sit-ins.

A five-member bench, headed by CJP Bandial, comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Sayyed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi heard the plea today. 

A day earlier, Khan said PTI will kick off its long march on October 28 (Friday) from Lahore.

The former prime minister said that all party workers, supporters and leaders will gather at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk at 11am from where they will march towards Islamabad.

Today’s hearing

In his arguments during the hearing, Additional Attorney General Aamir Rahman said that the reports of police and intelligence institutions have been reviewed.

The additional attorney general said that the court had first asked when did the PTI chief give a call for the long march.

He said that the court order came on May 25 at 6pm, while the announcement was made by Khan at 6:50pm and he made the second announcement at 9:54pm.

“The PTI had requested to stage a sit-in at the Srinagar Highway,” he said. “Khan had also announced to go to D-Chowk even before the court order.”

Rahman said that later PTI leaders Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhary, Sadaqat Ali Abbasi, Usman Dar, Shahbaz Gill, and Saifullah Niazi also gave a call to party workers to arrive at D chowk.

Meanwhile, the court sought a response from Khan over the plea seeking contempt proceedings against him.

“From Khan’s statement, it seems like he was informed about the court’s orders as he said that the SC ordered removing barricades,” the CJP remarked as he summoned the PTI chairman to clarify before the court who said what.

Rehman contended that Khan’s latest call to reach D-chowk is a contempt of court, he said, while referring to the end of PTI’s long march at Jinnah Avenue on May 26.

“Khan crossed the restricted area H9 and reached Blue Area where he ended the rally,” he said.

The additional attorney general further stated that PTI lawyers Babar Awan and Faisal Chaudhry assured the court that they would not cross the restricted area.

At this, CJP Bandial said that Rehman’s argument has some weight therefore it would be better to seek a response from those who assured.

‘Not necessary’

During the hearing, Justice Bandial said that the reports have enough justification that Khan should submit an answer.

“Even if a notice is served, it is not necessary for Khan to appear,” he said.

The chief justice added that the court doesn’t want to make the headlines, it only wants the rule of law to prevail. “One has to show up when a show-cause notice in the contempt case of civil nature is served,” he added.

Justice Yahya said that the court cannot seek an answer from anyone without notice.

The court also directed to provide the police, ISI, and IB reports to Khan and said that the PTI chief should provide an answer in light of these reports.

The Supreme Court also sought answers from former premier’s lawyers Babar Awan and Faisal Chaudhary.

“We are not issuing notice as of yet,” said the CJP, adding that a notice would give an impression that the proceedings have started.

Meanwhile, Justice Yahya issued a show-cause notice to Khan according to the previous differing note.

The court ordered that the PTI chairman and his lawyers should submit an answer by October 31.

The court adjourned the hearing till October 31.

SC is ‘not an executive’

Earlier during the hearing, AAG Rehman informed the court that there is a miscellaneous plea seeking orders for PTI to immediately stop the long march.

At this, CJP Bandial observed that the plea has now become effective as he has given the call to march.

However, Justice Afridi remarked that it would be better if the government takes back the plea for orders to stop the long march or it will have legal effects.

Meanwhile, CJP Bandial remarked that the SC is “not an executive nor it wants to be one”. No one can be deprived of the right to protest, he added.

However, he stressed that the protest should be within the limits of laws.

“In the context of the facts, the violation of the affidavit needs to be looked at prima facie,” the CJP observed, adding that the events of May 26 are not clear.

At this, the additional attorney general sought time to take new directives from the government regarding the plea, seeking orders to stop PTI’s long march.

The court accepted the request, assuring the government that the court can be approached if any issue occurred before October 31.

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Judge Muhammad Ali Warraich postpones the £190 million corruption lawsuit until June 21.

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The £190 million corruption case at Adiala Jail was heard by Judge Muhammad Ali Waraich of the Accountability Court. The hearing was postponed until June 21.

The cross-examination and statement of one witness took place during the case hearing. At the next hearing, four more witnesses will be put through cross-examination.

Up to now, 30 witness statements have been recorded, of which 22 have already undergone cross-examination.

Bushra Bibi, the founder of the PTI, was in court today throughout the proceedings.

The PTI’s legal representatives in the lawsuit included Shoaib Shaheen, Niazullah Niazi, Salman Akram Raja, and Ali Zafar.

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Nationwide protest gatherings will be held by the PTI on June 14.

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Zahir Shah, the minister of food for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has said that Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) will stage protests across the country to demand the release of PTI founder Imran Khan.

On June 14, protests around the country would take place, according to Zahir Shah Toru.

He added that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s chief minister had made plans for protests in every district.

In the protests, fictitious accusations made against PTI founder Imran Khan and its leadership will be denounced.

There would be no breaking of the law or the constitution, according to KP Minister Zahir Shah.

At 5:00 p.m., the Mardan demonstration will take place.

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Shah Mehmood, founder of the PTI, and others found not guilty in Azadi March case

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Information suggests that court magistrate Malik Muhammad Imran exonerated Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Sheikh Rasheed, the chief of AML, in addition to announcing the reserved verdict.

Acquittal of Sadaqat Abbasi and Ali Nawaz Awan from the Azadi March case was also ordered by the court.

It should be mentioned that numerous prominent members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), like as Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former prime minister Imran Khan, and others, were apprehended by the police in separate complaint letters pertaining to the Azadi March.

Following unrest between police and the PTI leader in the provincial capital, 42 charges were filed against PTI senior leaders and workers for agitation.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had previously found former prime minister Imran Khan and PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi not guilty in a case involving ciphers.

Decisions on appeals from the cipher case’s conviction were announced by Chief Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb of the IHC.

The party’s vice-chairman and founder, who was convicted in a similar case in January of this year, received 10-year prison sentences apiece.

On the other hand, Qureshi’s arrest in the crimes that occurred on May 9th and Imran’s sentences in the Toshakhana and Iddat cases mean that they are unlikely to be released from prison anytime soon.

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