- Islamabad High Court combines traders, PTI petitions.
- IHC says if highways closed, trade to come to a halt.
- Court to take up the case again tomorrow.
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday said no one had the right to stage a sit-in on key national highways (motorways), disrupting commercial as well as passenger transport.
IHC Chief Justice Amir Farooq took up the local businessmen’s request against the PTI protest which they argued would cause the federal capital to come to a halt.
During the course of the hearing, Justice Farooq said those who wanted to set up a protest rally had a right to do it, but without violating the basic rights of ordinary citizens.
“However, no one has the right to announce a sit-in on the Motorway and then block it,” the judge said.
The petitioner’s counsel said that the containers parked on the roads were causing difficulties for commuters.
Advocate General Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Jadoon said that PTI’s application for obtaining NOC for the sit-in and rally was also pending and suggested that it would be appropriate to hear both these petitions together.
Additional Attorney General Munawar Iqbal Duggal said he had written to the Ministry of Law for a legal opinion. The IHC chief justice said that action should be taken in such matters immediately.
The petitioner’s counsel said that orders should be issued to ensure the flow of traffic on highways and motorways.
CJ Farooq said as the federation was in control of highways and motorways it could give directions in this regard and if highways and motorways were closed, trade would also be affected.
He said no one had the right to occupy the motorway.
The IHC CJ further said Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had ruled in the dharna case that all rallies would be held in the parade ground.
“Foreigners also live in Islamabad and the diplomatic movement also gets affected because of these protest rallies,” Justice Farooq said.
After clubbing traders’ petition against the possible closure of roads because of PTI protest with the party’s plea seeking NOC for the sit-in and rally, the court adjourned the hearing till tomorrow (Friday).
On October 31, the PTI filed a petition with the IHC, to seek permission to hold its rally and sit-in and urge the government for providing security to marchers.
The petition, filed by PTI leader Ali Nawaz Awan, mentions that the party has held several public rallies, seminars, corner meetings, public gatherings, and conventions. It stated that PTI was a peaceful party and does not believe in confrontation with state institutions.
It, therefore, sought the court’s permission to gather the marchers in the capital city and hold a sit-in on Sri Nagar Highway between H-9 and G-9 area and near the Weekly Bazar — which falls under the deputy commissioner’s administrative control — following the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision.