ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to file a concise statement by Friday in relation to the petition filed against the party over their protests being staged on the Constitution Avenue.
A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, heard the case. During the hearing, PTI counsels Hamid Khan and Ahmed Owais appeared before the court. Advocate Asma Jahangir said that the court supported right of freedom of expression and always encouraged this right but an impression was being created as if freedom was absolute.
According to the constitution, this freedom of expression and right of assembly was subject to some reasonable restriction, she said. Participating in a long march or running a sit-in was a perfect right. “If I ask Mr Kamran Murtaza (president of Supreme Court Bar Association) that you should resign, this demand is my right but if I bring one-fourth of the members and storm into the Bar Association Office under the claim that it is the will of the people, then it will be classified as usurpation,” she argued.
Hamid Khan argued that the PTI was a peaceful party which had never violated the constitutional lines. He said that the PTI was against any extra-constitutional steps. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that his statement was very heartening but that a procedure must be adopted for the protest.
Justice Anwar Saeed Khosa remarked that it was ironic that claims were being made regarding commitment with the constitution but at the same time the Constitution Avenue remained blocked. He said that the PTI should not backtrack from its demands but it should at least move away from the Constitutional Avenue.
Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said if someone sat outside the parliament waiting for 'the prey which was gathered inside,' then it was highly uncivilised. Meanwhile, no PAT representative appeared in the court. Attorney General Salman Butt argued that since PAT was not represented by anyone, therefore the court may issue an order against its activities on the Constitution Avenue.
However, Justice Nasirul Mulk refused to pass an order while remarking that the government may use administrative powers according to the law. The court asked PTI counsel Hamid Khan to file a concise statement by the next hearing of the case which was adjourned until Friday.