ISLAMABAD: As Supreme Court of Pakistan is set to start hearing today (Monday) on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP’s) petition seeking to revisit its previous verdict about conducting of polls in Punjab, the ruling alliance of 13 political parties will hold a sit-in outside the top court to protest the judiciary’s “undue facilitation” to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.
At a time when a three-member special bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial with Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, is starting hearing on the ECP’s review petition with regard to Punjab election delay case, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has announced to stage a sit-in outside Supreme Court today (Monday) to protest the alleged “due facilitation” to Imran Khan by the top judiciary.
The sit-in protest by the ruling coalition coincides with the hearing of the ECP’s plea asking the apex court to revisit its order of holding elections to the Punjab Assembly on May 14 – the deadline which expired on Sunday.
PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), has called party workers from across the country to reach Islamabad on Monday for a sit-in protest to what the JUI-F secretary-general Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidery stated to continue for an “indefinite” period.
In a video statement, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman invited workers of all political parties to join the protest, saying that the sit-in outside the Supreme Court will continue until the Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial resigns.
“The sit-in would be staged against the protection being given by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, and Islamabad High Court to a ‘criminal’. I ask the workers of all political parties to reach the Constitution Avenue in Islamabad at 9am on Monday to show national solidarity against the protection of the criminal by the three-member bench and the high court,” Maulana said.
Referring to relief provided to Imran Khan in terms of bails, he said that the courts are encouraging a “criminal” to weaken the country and to disintegrate it.
He also asked volunteers of Ansarul Islam, a volunteer organisation of the JUI-F, to ensure discipline and peace during the protest, and requested lawyers to participate in the sit-in to ensure “supremacy of law.”
Other major coalition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have also announced their support to the protest call and vowed to join the protest.
PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz has already arrived in Islamabad to take part in the sit-in protest.
“On the instructions of (PML-N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz will represent the PML-N in the sit-in,” Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement.
In a meeting of the PML-N party leaders, headed by Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique at the party’s Model Town Secretariat in Lahore on Saturday, the party decided to attend the demonstration outside the Supreme Court and also tasked senior PML-N leader to gather a maximum number of people for the protest.
Speaking at a news conference, PPP’s secretary-general Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari announced that PPP would participate in the “peaceful” sit-in protest of the PDM outside the Supreme Court today against the “double standards” of justice. He said that PPP workers have been asked to reach Islamabad to join the “peaceful” protest.
Meanwhile, Maulana Fazlur Rehman turned down a government request to shift the venue of the sit-in protest from the Supreme Court to D-Chowk.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar along with Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah met the JUI-F chief on Sunday and requested to shift the venue of the sit-in protest from the Supreme Court to D-Chowk.
However, the JUI-F chief rejected the request, saying that he had already announced the date and the venue, and it could not be changed.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023