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LHC dismisses petition about army’s role as mediator

* Petitioner says statements issued by ISPR are in violation of Article 245

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Justice Mansoor Ali Shah on Tuesday dismissed a petition challenging the army’s role as an arbitrator in the country’s prevailing political situation. The petition was filed on behalf of a lawyer’s organisation named Wukla Mahaz.
Petitioner’s counsel Dr A Basit said that the Supreme Court (SC) in its July 31, 2009 judgement had already declared that the army has no role in politics under the constitution. He said that to act, as arbitrator between the government and protesting parties, was unconstitutional for the army chief.
He said that the SC verdict should be implemented. He requested the court to restrain Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif from playing the role of an arbitrator or mediator and direct him to comply with the SC judgement.
He also submitted that scope and interpretation of Article 245 of the constitution was required, whether the armed forces once called in could direct the disarming of the civil forces. He referred to the press release of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) in the last few days in this regard.
He contended that the statements issued by the ISPR were in violation of Article 245. He also said that these press statements gave an impression that the army take over was around the corner, which led to uncertainty in the country. He also requested that the federal government should be directed to resolve the crisis through dialogue. 
In reply to the petition, a deputy attorney general informed that the SC was already seized of the matter relating to the present political crisis and it would be appropriate for the petitioners to approach the SC in this regard. 

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