Islamabad, Nov 16 (PTI) Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday said that violence like the May 9 riots continues to plague the country due to the non-implementation of its verdict against a radical Islamist group and others for involvement in the Faizabad sit-in case.
The 2017 Faizabad sit-in by the hardline religious group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) caused widespread disruption in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
A three-member bench issued the 2019 verdict in the Faizabad case, instructing the defence ministry and the tri-services chiefs to penalise personnel under their command who were found to have violated their oath. It also directed the federal government to monitor those advocating hate, extremism and terrorism and prosecute them in accordance with the law.
Following Wednesday’s court proceedings on multiple petitions challenging a 2019 verdict about the sit-in, Chief Justice Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who is heading a three-member bench, issued a written order stating that no responsibility was affixed, nor was anyone held accountable for the violence of the past.
“It is not surprising that violence continued to be perceived as a permissible means to attain one’s goals. Victims of those striving for an independent judiciary, an inclusive and tolerant Pakistan were disregarded without justice; the nation suffered the consequences, as evident from the recent events of 9 May 2023," said Justice Isa, who was a member of the three-member bench that issued the 2019 verdict.
Unprecedented violence broke out in Pakistan after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan by paramilitary Rangers on May 9.
Dozens of military and state buildings, including the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and the ISI building in Faisalabad, were torched and vandalised by many PTI activists during the unprecedented event that broke out after Khan's arrest.
The written order of the apex court acknowledged the manipulation that took place in the handling of review petitions in the Faizabad sit-in case.
It stated that it is long overdue that every institution acts transparently and responsibly, and when wrong is done, it is incumbent to acknowledge it.
Justice Isa said that it should not need reminding that every decision of the Supreme Court is binding and must be implemented by all executive authorities as stipulated in Articles 189 and 190 of the Constitution.
“Implementation, however, may be forestalled when review petitions and other applications are pending. However, all review petitions and applications have now been disposed of. It now needs to be considered whether we should invoke the constitutional power of contempt under Article 204 of the Constitution in case the Judgment is not implemented,” he said.
The court also announced that the hearing was adjourned till January 22, 2024.
The 2019 judgement had upset the government and the powerful establishment, and a case of alleged corruption was filed against Isa in the Supreme Court, which after a hearing, rejected the charges.
Several review petitions, including by the Ministry of Defence, the Intelligence Bureau, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, Election Commission of Pakistan, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement party as well by former minister Sheikh Rashid and Ijazul Haq (son of former dictator Ziaul Haq) were also filed against the original judgment.
The review petitions remained in the cold storage, but Isa decided to hear them after becoming the chief justice.
He formed a three-member bench — including himself and fellow judges, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah, which on September 28 heard a set of review petitions challenging the apex court’s verdict.
The government informed the court on Wednesday that it has formed a high-powered commission to implement the verdict. The court adjourned the hearing for two months while the chief justice issued the written orders. PTI SH GRS ZH GRS GRS