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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday barred Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from holding its public meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan scheduled on March 19 (Sunday).

The court also extended its restrictive order against the police operation till March 17 (today) 11:00 am morning initiated outside the residence of PTI Chairman Imran Khan to arrest him in the Toshakhana case.

The court, however, did not touch the matter of arrest warrants. “Neither the LHC nor the Islamabad High Court stopped from executing the arrest warrants,” the court observed.

The court said, everyone has right but they are needed to be balanced. “We are being embarrassed as a nation,” the court observed and advised the PTI leaders to reschedule their rally.

During the hearing of a petition of PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, the petitioner asked the court to restrain police operation outside the residence of the PTI chief, which was carried out to arrest him in the Toshakhana case.

The court slammed the party for not planning its public gathering ahead of time and said that if they wanted to hold a public meeting, then the preparation and planning should have begun 15 days prior.

“Even if a person gets married, they plan ahead,” the court added.

“For God’s sake, let the people live their routine lives. Your rally will not take place this Sunday,” the court held, and asked the PTI to reschedule their rally.

The court also directed the party leaders to sit down with the authorities and sort out the issue of police operation. “We are being embarrassed as a nation,” the court remarked. The court also advised that both the parties needed to follow the law.

Earlier, the court asked the petitioner’s counsel about his client, as he was not present in the court room. The counsel said the PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry was on his way. The court asked why Fawad had not reached at the time given to him.

As Fawad entered the courtroom, the court told him that his party was not following the law. “You people have pushed the nation into suffering.”

At this, Fawad said that when the party chief has to appear before four courts subsequently, it becomes hard for him. Is all the work to be done by you, the court asked the lawyer.

“We are sure about an attack on Khan and that is why we had requested his presence at hearings via video link,” the counsel said.

The court said that there is a proper procedure for seeking security for a person and stressed that the party should bring “itself inside the system’s ambit”.

The court observed that it did not “find any issue” in the situation, but also noted that neither of the parties involved in the case has read the law.

The court remarked that the lack of understanding of the law was the cause of the issue.

The court highlighted that adherence to the rule of law would resolve the current impasse and emphasized that all solutions to such problems could be found in the Constitution.

The court said they just have to follow the law in this case. On the issue of Imran Khan’s warrants and knocking the doors of both IHC and LHC, the court reprimanding the PTI counsel, saying they are unaware of where they have to plead.

The Advocate General Punjab (AGP) told the court that IHC’s order has also been issued and added there is no need for this hearing. Only the matter of security can be discussed, the AGP said.

The petitioner’s lawyer also contended that they were waiting for the decision of IHC and a sessions court in Islamabad.

The court, however, adjourned the matter till 11:00 am today.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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