SC fixes Shaukat Siddiqui's appeal against removal for hearing

SC orders govt to provide PTI ground between H-9 and G-9 for protest

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ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to hold dialogues later tonight.

The three-seat Supreme Court, led by Justice Ijazur Hassan, consists of Justices Munib Akhtar and Justice Syed Mazahir Ali. Akbar Naqvi heard a petition by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association against harassment of PTI Long March participants.

After an initial hearing, the top court ordered the local administration to provide Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) space between Sector H9 and G9 of Islamabad for protest and also release arrested lawyers. The permission was granted on the assurance of the PTI not to damage public and private property and the court directed not to disrupt the flow of traffic on Srinagar Highway.

The Supreme Court has ordered that PTI workers and leaders should not be arrested, and that those arrested for political reasons should be released immediately.

The Supreme Court said it hoped the top leadership would instruct its staff not to take the law into their own hands, and the government would immediately stop the use of force.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court had directed the government to provide a suitable site for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Long March.

During the hearing, Judge Ijaz ul Ahsan said that the PTI should protest and return, while the government should make a traffic plan for the Long March site. We will also seek assurances from PTI, he added.

The court further remarked that it hopes government will reopen roads and lift blockages. “If the PTI fears arrests, it should provide us with a list. We will protect those who fear arrests.”

Justice Ahsan said political parties had their own interests but they were secondary to the country and the people. He also observed that emergency had been imposed in all hospitals in the capital while schools and transport had been closed.

The country was at a critical juncture economically and on the verge of bankruptcy, he remarked. “Will the country be shut down for every protest?” he asked. All exams had been postponed, roads blocked and businesses closed, he observed.

Attorney General Ausaf told the court he did not know the details and sought time to get information. At this, Justice Naqvi observed half of the Supreme Court s staff had been unable to reach the premises because of barricades.

Attorney General Ausaf argued that the PTI had “threatened a bloody march”, adding that while he was against blocking roads, “unavoidable” steps had to be taken to protect the lives and properties of citizens.

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