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ISLAMABAD: The Intelligence Bureau (IB), on Tuesday, filed an application, one day before the hearing of the case, to withdraw its review petition against the Supreme Court judgment on Faizabad dharna.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah will hear the petitions of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Military Intelligence (MI), and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of army, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the MQM-P, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), and the Defence Ministry, tomorrow (September 28) against the February 6, 2019 verdict.

The SC judgment has directed the intelligence agencies and the ISPR not to exceed their constitutional mandates. The pleas were not taken up during the tenures of the last three chief justices, namely, Asif Saeed Khosa, Gulzar Ahmed, and Umar Ata Bandial.

Amjad Iqbal, deputy director (litigation) IB, who has been authorised by the DG Intelligence Bureau, filed an application to withdraw the review petition under Order XXXIII Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980.

The application said: “The petitioner (DG IB) intends to withdraw the civil review petition and does not want to pursue the matter in the title case (Faizabad dharna).” “It is, therefore, humbly prayed that this application may be accepted and the titled civil review petition may kindly be allowed to be withdrawn,” it added.

The ISI in its review petition contended that the Faizabad judgment would adversely affect the morale of the armed forces. It further said that the court’s observations would gather the impression that the armed forces and the premier intelligence agency were responsible for such “unconstitutional acts”.

It added that the verdict displaced the image of the armed forces defending the country against the menace of terrorism with that of those “mired in politics, manipulating elections, subverting free speech, muzzling the press and funding extremists”.

Justice Isa, in his 2019 Faizabad dharna judgment, had written that the Constitution emphatically prohibited members of the armed forces from engaging in any kind of political activity, which included supporting a political party, faction or individual. “The government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defence and the respective chiefs of the army, the navy and the air force are directed to initiate action against the personnel under their command who are found to have violated their oath,” read the 43-page verdict authored by incumbent CJP Isa.

CJ Isa in his Faizabad dharna judgment had held that no one, including any government, department or intelligence agency, could curtail the fundamental right of freedom of speech, expression and press beyond the parameters mentioned in Article 19 of the Constitution.

He ruled that those who resorted to such tactics under the mistaken belief that they served some higher goal deluded themselves. “Pakistan is governed by the Constitution ... Obedience to the Constitution and the law is the inviolable obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being in Pakistan,” he wrote in his verdict.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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