LAHORE: A full bench of Lahore High Court on Wednesday dismissed a review petition and ordered the Punjab government to remove containers from roads and give way to the people so they could exercise their democratic right to protest in a peaceful manner and take out a long march towards Islamabad.
The bench observed that it would not allow violation of anyone’s rights in the name of security. It upheld its earlier order of August 12 to remove containers from three points around Model Town in order to minimise the hardships of the residents and others. It also ordered the government to ensure provision of fuel across the province and not harass any PTI activist. During the hearing on Wednesday morning, the court ordered the government to remove the containers by 2pm. The government filed a review petition which was taken up by the court at 5:30pm.
After hearing the arguments, the bench dismissed the review petition of the government and upheld its earlier order. It had issued the order to remove containers on a petition filed by PTI lawyers wing leader Hassan Awais. Petitioner’s counsel Ahmad Awais claimed that the provincial government had blocked different roads leading to Lahore and Islamabad all over the province for the last five days with containers and other obstacles. During the hearing on Wednesday, on a query from inspector general of Punjab Police (IG) that had he passed any order for the placement of containers on roads, the IG said that he had not issue any order as it was the decision of the district police to take such a decision.
Bench remarked how all district heads of the police in the province decided together to use only containers to block the roads and directed the IG to inform about the number of containers being used for this purpose. As the IG wanted an hour time to get such information across the Punjab, bench remarked that what was the use of an IG who had no coordination with his subordinates? IG said that more than 200 police officials were injured ahead of August 10 and to control the untoward incidents and for protection of the people, the police had taken certain measures including placing of containers.
Bench remarked that from August 10, when the police had blocked roads leading to Lahore, people were witnessed crawling from under the containers. He said no ambulance, no baraat (marriage party), people going to their offices were not allowed to reach at their destination. Bench also remarked that these containers are belonging to the private people and these are obtained without any charges. During the hearing, PTI lawyer Ahmed Awais said that the march will take place between Zero Point and Kashmir Point and explained that PTI workers are peaceful people and will not disrupt the peace of the city.
He earlier had submitted that police had been arresting their party workers to restrain them from participating in Azadi march announced by the PTI chief Imran Khan. He said all main roads had been blocked across the province and the workers of PTI were being disallowed to move towards Islamabad. He said even by placing containers and barricades roads had been blocked with ulterior motives to compel common man to stay at home and did not participate in Independence Day celebrations.
He said that the impugned action of the government was in sheer violation of fundamental rights protected under the Constitution, as taking out peaceful rally march was democratic right of every citizen. He requested to restrain the police from arresting party workers and from brining the movement of the people to grinding halt.
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