ISLAMABAD: Despite the Supreme Court (SC) orders, the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has refused to vacate the Constitution Avenue. On the other hand, the PTI informed the court that its protest was not blocking the avenue.
According to the reply submitted in the SC by Attorney General Salman Butt, both the protesting parties have refused to shift the protest venue to alternative places offered by the government.
Butt offered two points for the shifting of protest namely Parade Ground near Faizabad next to Islamabad Highway and Sports Complex football ground during a meeting with PTI lawyer Hamid khan and PAT lawyer Ali Zafar.
Zafar informed the AG during their meeting at the Pakistan Bar Council that the PAT would not be able to vacate the place or open the road lanes along the Constitution Avenue. Zafar also said the PAT would make arrangements to facilitate the flow of traffic along Constitution Avenue. PTI lawyer Ahmed Awais told the AG that the PTI chairman was not “willing to leave the present spot”. PTI lawyer Hamid Khan told the AG that the protest was taking place in the parade ground away from the Parliament House and other nearby buildings. The AG said that ongoing protests have created problems for commuters. He contended that access to offices and buildings, including the SC, PM’s House, Federal Shariat Court (FSC), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had been restricted.
He said that the sit-ins were stopping the free movement of people, access to various government offices, and creating nuisance for the families living in the Parliament Lodges (PL) and adjoining areas. PAT lawyer Ali Zafar said that it would be difficult for the PAT to move its protesters elsewhere. However, they could consider using only one lane along Constitution Avenue, subject to the consent of the PAT chief. The AG said that the court had ordered the protesters to clear both sides of Constitution Avenue.
Zafar said that he would get further instructions from Dr Tahirul Qadri in this regard. However, Hamid Khan said the PTI would not agree to move its protesters to another location. The court would take up the case on Wednesday (today) regarding the petitions filed by the SCBA and other identical petitions filed by different bar councils to restrain any authority or institution from any extra-constitutional step.
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