Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Isa on Thursday said serious incidents could have been prevented if his verdict against a radical Islamic group and others for joining the Faizabad sit-in had been implemented. He adjourned the hearing on the petitions challenging the decision till November 1. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Isa and comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah was hearing petitions challenging the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Faizabad strike case.
In the Court’s decision, intelligence agencies were directed not to exceed their constitutional mandate. The decision was heavily criticized by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and others and review petitions were later filed against the decision. Those who filed review petitions against the decision include PTI, Defense Ministry, Intelligence Bureau, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, Pakistan Election Commission, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Party, former interior minister Sheikh Rashid and Ijazul Haq, son of former military dictator Zia-ul Haq. Are. Isa was a member of the three-member bench that issued the 2019 verdict.
Isa expressed displeasure after the apex court decided to withdraw the plea of several petitioners seeking review of its 2019 verdict against the Faizabad strike. The challengers had said in their arguments that the decision was full of flaws. The Chief Justice wondered why they were withdrawing the petitions, and asked “why is everyone so afraid of speaking the truth”. Attorney-General Mansoor Usman Awan, representing the federal government, assured the court that the Faizabad verdict would be implemented but the Chief Justice was not happy. The Chief Justice said, “If this decision had been implemented at that time, serious incidents would not have happened at that time.”
He was referring to the Jaranwala incident in which radical Islamic people, accusing them of blasphemy, had vandalized 22 churches and set fire to the houses of many Christians. Even though there were no casualties in that incident, it was one of the most gruesome attacks on Christians in a Muslim-majority country. Since the questions asked by the bench were probably not answered satisfactorily, Sheikh Rashid’s lawyer asked for adjournment of the hearing, which the court accepted and fixed the next hearing of the case on November 1. However, the court directed the defendants’ lawyers to submit their case in writing by October 27.
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