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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court expects that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Azadi March in the federal capital will be held in accordance with the law.

A five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Mazahar Akbar Naqvi, on Friday, heard a contempt petition of the federal government against the PTI Chairman Imran Khan for violating the commitment given to the apex court not to hold a protest at D-Chowk.

The bench gave time to the PTI chief to submit his reply in response to the evidence provided by the Ministry of Interior against him regarding the May 25 events.

During the proceeding, Additional Attorney General (AAG) Amir Rehman contended that the respondent (Imran Khan) should be required to follow the law if the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration allows the PTI to hold its march in Islamabad.

The bench then asked the former prime minister’s counsel, Salman Raja, to respond. He stated that he had not obtained specific instructions on the matter. Upon that, the chief justice remarked should the court expect there will be no breach of law during the ongoing march.

CJP Bandial said the apex court was very conscious about exercising the contempt jurisdiction, but maintained that he was aware of the court’s directions not being obeyed.

He asked Imran’s lawyerL "You have presented an argument that the court order was spread in the country through media and social media" At that Raja said that the court order went viral on social media after some time.

The CJP observed that Imran Khan announced going to D-Chowk 40 minutes after the court order. He remarked that the apex court shows restraint in using its powers relating to the contempt, saying that the court only takes action when its orders are violated.

“We are not issuing any order at the moment,” said the CJP. He said that Khan has submitted a detailed reply and hoped that it is correct and based on facts.

Salman Aslam Butt advocate, representing the Interior Ministry, said the ministry has submitted evidence along with a USB. Butt said that the USB proves that the PTI's long march was headed toward D-Chowk on May 25. It also shows that the mobile phones were working that day and that the leaders continued to post and tweet on social media from the container.

Butt requested the bench to pass directions for obtaining call direct records (CDRs) in order to verify that phones were working in the area where Imran’s convoy was protesting on May 25.

Justice Mazahar Naqvi inquired what will the CDR reveal in case the mobile phone is lying somewhere else. To that, the ministry's counsel replied that the CDR will reveal the location from where the phone was operated. He further stated that the evidence submitted clearly shows the mobile phone was in Khan’s hand.

The case was adjourned until next week.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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