ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued written verdict of suo motu action against Faizabad sit-in, ordering authorities to take action against responsible behind violence, damaging public properties, lawlessness.
The top court in its 43-page verdict released by two-member bench comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mushir Alam stated that any institution should not cross boundaries of the Constitution.
Sensitive institutions were directed to monitor people spreading hatred and endangering national security while federal and provincial governments were also ordered to hold monitoring of such persons involved in discussions of terrorism, extremism and hatred, stated the verdict released on SC’s website.
Every citizen has right to create political parties, gathering and protests including political activists. According to verdict, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) was registered as political party while any political party was restricted to propagate against constitution and political parties cannot be involved in terrorism under Election Act.
“The maintenance of public order is the paramount duty of the State. If anyone propagates, “hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Federal or Provincial Government”55 they commit the offence of sedition for which the punishment is imprisonment for life.”
“The Constitution does not specifically stipulate a right to protest. However, democracy recognizes such a right, and it was through democratic means that Pakistan was achieved.”
“Citizens have the right to peacefully protest and hold demonstrations, and may do so against any action or decision of a government or authority.”
“Every citizen not being in the service of Pakistan shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party”63, however, as this fundamental right itself stipulates, it is one which vests in every citizen of Pakistan. Political parties must not act in a manner, “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan”64 and they “shall account for the source of funds”65. TLP was registered as a political party on 25th May, 201766 under the Political Parties Order, 2002. The Political Parties Order, 2002 was subsequently substituted on 2nd October, 2017 by the Elections Act, 2017.”
Political parties were prohibited to “propagate any opinion opinion, or act in a manner prejudicial to the fundamental principles enshrined in the Constitution; undermine the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan, public order or public morality or indulge in terrorism; promote sectarian, regional or provincial hatred or, animosity; bear a name as a militant group or section or assign appointment titles to its leaders or officebearers which connote leadership of armed groups; impart any military or para-military training to its members or other persons; or be formed, organized, set-up or convened as a foreign-aided political party.” under Elections Act – 2017.
Election Commission of Pakistan was directed to take action against political parties violating laws and rejecting to provide details of its funds.
“The Constitution earmarks the responsibilities of the Election Commission which it must fulfill. If a political party does not comply with the law governing political parties then the Election Commission must proceed against it in accordance with the law. The law is most certainly not cosmetic as contended on behalf of the Election Commission.”
The verdict quoted Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s statements:
- “I consider it my duty to call upon the Muslims to temper their resentment with reason and to beware of the dangers which may well overwhelm their own State. Should they allow their feelings of the moment to gain mastery over their actions.”
- “It is of utmost importance that Pakistan should be kept free from disorder, because the outbreak of lawlessness… is bound to shake… its foundation and cause irreparable damage to its future.”
- “I pray to God that He who has bestowed on us this great boon of a sovereign State, may now give our people courage to… preserve intact the peace of Pakistan for the sake of Pakistan.”
The top court ordered the federation to “always act impartially and fairly” as “the law is applicable to all, including those who are in government and institutions must act independently of those in government.”
“When the State failed to prosecute those at the highest echelons of government who were responsible for the murder and attempted murder of peaceful citizens on the streets of Karachi on 12th May, 2007 it set a bad precedent and encouraged others to resort to violence to achieve their agendas.”
“A person issuing an edict or fatwa, which harms another or puts another in harm’s way, must be criminally prosecuted under the Pakistan Penal Code, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and/or the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.”
“All intelligence agencies (including ISI, IB and MI) and the ISPR must not exceed their respective mandates. They cannot curtail the freedom of speech and expression and do not have the authority to interfere with broadcasts and publications, in the management of broadcasters, publishers and in the distribution of newspapers.”
The verdict added, “The Constitution emphatically prohibits members of the Armed Forces from engaging in any kind of political activity, which includes supporting a political party, faction or individual. The Government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defence and the respective Chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are directed to initiate action against the personnel under their command who are found to have violated their oath.”
SC directed to criminally prosecute the responsible persons under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
The top court directed to send copies of the judgment to Secretary Defence, Secretary Interior, Secretary Human Rights, Secretary Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Secretary Information, the Chief Secretaries of the provinces, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Chief Commissioner of Islamabad, Heads of the Armed Forces, the Director General Inter Services Intelligence (DG-ISI), the Director General Inter Services Public Relations (DG-ISPR) and the head of the Military Intelligence (MI).
Secretary Interior was directed to forward the judgment to the Director General Intelligence Bureau (DG-IB), Director General Federal Investigation Agency (DG-FIA, Inspector Generals of Police (IGPs) of the provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).