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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the District Magistrate Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to ensure that the conditions explicitly mentioned in the permissions/NOCs to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) are enforced and strictly complied with, failing which, action ought to be taken to remedy the mischief or contravention.

The IHC said: “The State through the District Magistrate and law enforcement agencies shall ensure compliance of the conditional permissions/NOCs and to proceed against the violators in accordance with law regardless of their status and positions.”

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah, on Saturday, heard the petition of the Chief Commissioner and the ICT District Magistrate, and after hearing the arguments disposed of the petition.

The capital administration on March 25 had issued a show-cause notice to Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) for planning to set up stage on Srinagar Highway by blocking the road in violation of the terms and conditions of the no-objection certificate (NOC) issued to it. According to the terms and conditions of the NOC, the rally planned by the JUI shall not disturb or disrupt fundamental rights of the citizens.

The IHC order said that maintaining public order is the fundamental duty of the State.

Section 31 of the Police Act, 1861 declares that it is the duty of the police to keep order on the public roads, public streets, thoroughfares and all other places of public resort.

It has been unambiguously declared as a duty of the police to prevent obstruction on roads and thoroughfares on the occasion of assemblies and procession.

It is an offence for any person to cause obstruction, inconvenience, annoyance or damage to other citizens. An unlawful assembly, inter alia, includes a common object to commit mischief, resist the execution of any law or of any legal process and it has been made punishable under section 142 of Pakistan Penal Code, (PPC) 1860.

It said that Chapters X and XI of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1898 empowers the Magistrate to pass orders to prevent obstruction, nuisance or danger to public in the use of roads or thoroughfares, while disobedience of such directions and orders is a punishable offence under Section 188 of the PPC.

The Magistrate also has wide powers under Chapter VIII of CrPC for keeping peace and ensuring good behavior.

The IHC in its order, dated 17-03-2022, passed in WP No 1082/2022 titled “Asma Malik v Federation of Pakistan, through Secretary Ministry of Interior, etc”, noted that it is the duty of every citizen, particularly the political parties to obey the law. All the political parties, which have been granted permissions/NOCs, are bound by the conditions mentioned therein.

The order said it is definitely not expected from political parties and public office holders to resist, breach or in any manner disobey the law and the lawful orders issued by the District Magistrate in order to maintain peace and public order.

It is an onerous duty of the District Magistrate and the law enforcement agencies to enforce the law.

It is their constitutional obligation to take all measures as may be necessary to enforce the conditions explicitly mentioned in the permissions/NOCs. Any violation or breach would expose the political parties as well as their leaderships to the consequences prescribed under the law.

Chief Commissioner and District Magistrate Islamabad had filed contempt petition against Maulana Abdul Majeed Hazarvi and Mufti Abdullah, ameers JUI-F.

They had requested the Court to initiate proceeding against the respondents who are organising the assembly of JUI-F workers.

The District Magistrate had asserted that the respondents intend to violate the permission/NOC granted to them for exercising the right of assembly.

The NOC is subject to conditions explicitly mentioned therein.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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