SC directs political parties to submit proposals to end crisis

* CJP tells Sh Rashid to consult PTI, PAT to vacate Parliament House premises * Court orders govt to submit report on loss to exchequer, damages to state buildings


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday sought suggestions and proposals from all the parliamentary political parties to resolve the prevalent political standoff.
The court also directed the government to submit details of the financial loss caused to the national kitty during this crisis. A larger five-member bench of the top court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Nasirul Mulk issued the directions during the hearing of identical petitions filed by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and other bar councils seeking a restraining order against any possible extra-constitutional act by any authority or institution.
Representing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Atizaz Ahsan pleaded before the apex court that about two thousand protesters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) have occupied the Parliament House lawn. Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk noted that the National Assembly (NA) speaker has the authority to pass instructions regarding the vacation of the parliament lawn. However, Aitzaz said that court orders would prove more effective than the orders passed by the NA speaker. He added that parliament is as sacred as the Supreme Court of Pakistan and expressed the fear that the protesters may also occupy another state building. 
Sheikh Rashid Ahmad of the Pakistan Awami Muslim League appeared in the court and held out the assurance that the sit-in would not cause any violence and anarchy now. He said the placement of containers on the roads by the government has added to the woes of the common man. The government, he said, should assure it would not launch a crackdown on the protesters. The CJP remarked, “We will look into this matter too. First of all political parties should give proposals on how to weed out rigging. The court is giving time so that the parties could file their replies.” 
Meanwhile, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that the protesting parties had already assured the top court that the marchers would not occupy any state building and guaranteed not to violate the constitutional limits. On this point, Rahsid said that parliament is completely free and operational, and its two houses are in a joint session. To chief justice’s remark that “the lawn of parliament is also a part of parliament” Rashid said the poor people gathered there should be permitted to sit in the lawn.
However, Justice Jawwad said, “If the justification is that these are poor people then they should be allowed to occupy the parliament building”. Rashid told the court that if it guarantees that there would be no crackdown on the protesters the people would definitely vacate the lawn of the Parliament House. The chief justice directed Rashid to consult the leadership of both PTI and PAT on vacating the Parliament House premises and submit a reply on Thursday (today). Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that the PAT lawyer had assured the that no violation would take place, but the Constitution Avenue has still not been vacated.

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