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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will resume hearing on the review petitions against Faizabad Dharna (sit-in) from Monday (May 6).

The review petitions were filed by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Military Intelligence (MI), and Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Ministry of Defence, the PTI, MQM-P, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), President AML Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, and President PML-Z IjazulHaq. They, however, withdrew petitions when Justice Faez became the chief justice of Pakistan in September 2023.

The federal government, therefore, on November 15, last year, constituted a three-member inquiry commission under the Inquiry Commission Act, 1956, to investigate and identify the persons responsible for Faizabad Dharna and recommend legal action against them.

The Commission headed by PSP officer Syed Akhtar Ali Shah (retired) and comprising former Inspector General of Police Tahir Alam Khan and Additional Secretary Ministry of Interior Khushal Khan in the second week of April submitted its report to the Cabinet Division.

The commission proposed implementing the National Action Plan and emphasised the need for the Executive to fulfil its responsibilities effectively. Moreover, it suggested amendments to laws, including those related to social media, to better regulate platforms like PEMRA Ordinance.

The report gave a clean chit to former Director General ISI Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed saying there was no evidence of any organisation’s involvement behind the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) protest.

However, it failed to address the Supreme Court’s order whether it was co-incidental or on the instruction of the same source to file and withdraw the review petitions against its judgment.

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, testifying before the Commission accepted responsibility for the decisions made during the sit-in, absolving General Hameed of any undue influence. Additionally, testimonies from key figures including Shehbaz Sharif, Ahsan Iqbal, Zahid Hamid, and Aftab Sultan unanimously denied any involvement of agencies or individuals.

The commission’s report highlighted the Punjab government’s failure to address the sit-in promptly, criticising its decision to allow the TLP to march to Islamabad. It also identified shortcomings within the Rawalpindi administration.

The Supreme Court in its order dated November 13, 2023, expected that the Inquiry Commission will probe the factors for not implementing the Faizabad Dharna judgment ‘and will consider’ why the review petitions against it were filed and later on withdrawn.

The chief justice during the proceeding of the Faizabad Dharna case, in January this year had stated that after examining the report they would pass an appropriate order. The Court on 15th November 2023 had given two months to the Commission to conclude its finding about the Faizabad Dharna.

When the commission in January failed to complete the report, the court then granted two more months to the Inquiry Commission to complete the probe in Faizabad Dharna (sit-in).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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