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Approach Imran, Qadri: LHC to Nawaz

* Court remarks PM should visit Imran Khan even 10 times if necessary for stability in country * Govt should even touch feet of opponents if needed

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to meet Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek head Tahirul Qadri on Tuesday (today) in a bid to defuse the current tense political situation.
According to media reports, hearing a petition seeking restraining order against PTI’s planned “Azadi March”, the LHC judge Khalid Mehmood remarked that if the prime minister failed to meet Imran Khan on Tuesday the court would issue an order. He said the national security is in danger and the prime minister’s ego should not lead to disintegration of the country. Additional Attorney General AK Dogar told the court that the government believes in resolving all political issues through dialogues. Meanwhile, Justice Shahid Hameed Dar directed the prime minister to visit Imran Khan’s residence without invitation because national security is important.
A three-member full bench of the Lahore High Court on Monday issued notices to PTI chief Imran Khan, PAT head Tahirul Qadri, PML-Q leaders Shujaat Hussain and Pervez Elahi, Sheikh Rasheed of the Awami Muslim League and home secretaries of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on a petition seeking issuance of an order to restrain the PTI from taking out its “Azadi March”. 
The bench comprising Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan, Justice Shahid Hameed Dar and Justice Anwaarul Haq directed the respondents, including Interior Ministry, to appear in court on Tuesday (today). The bench directed the federal and Punjab law officers to come prepared with details about the steps taken by the government to end the political crisis through reconciliation. It remarked that every citizen has the right to protest against the government but no one could be permitted to brandish weapons. 
The bench remarked that it is easy for it to pass an order of four lines but the other party should be given the chance to argue. During the proceedings on Monday, Naseer Ahmad Bhutta, additional attorney general of Pakistan, Muhammad Hanif Khatana, advocate general Punjab and Ahmad Awais received notices on behalf of the Interior Ministry, Punjab home secretary and Imran Khan. The bench directed the LHC registrar to intimate the remaining respondents through print and electronic media, telling them to ensure their presence before the court.
Earlier, as the proceedings commenced the bench asked to the petitioner’s counsel as to how the court could direct the government to resolve the political turmoil with dialogue when people were adamant to wage an armed struggle against the government. The bench observed that the government should initiate a dialogue process with the protesting parties to maintain stability in the country. Naseer Ahmad Bhutta said that the government wanted to resolve the crisis with dialogue and in this regard Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invited the heads of protesting parties for talks but he never got a positive response. He noted that the prime minister had visited Imran Khan’s residence in the past and could go to his home again. The bench remarked that the prime minister should visit Imran Khan ten times, if needed, for the stability in the country.
The bench told Naseer Bhutta that the government should have opted the way of dialogue before raising this issue before the court. It inquired from him as to what the federal government had done so far to avoid the unrest. Addressing Khatana the court observed that the government should even touch the feet of its opponents, if needed, for the integrity of the country. Petitioner’s counsel AK Dogar submitted that if he were the prime minister, he would have gone to the residence of Qadri and convinced.

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