Faizabad Dharna: IHC critical of military role as mediator in agreement

The Islamabad High Court on Monday censured the government and the Army for the latter’s role “as the mediator” in an agreement after which Faizabad Interchange protest was called off.
Hearing the case, Justice Shauqut Aziz Siddiqui raised multiple questions about the Army’s role of a mediator in brokering an conclusion of the sit-in, saying, “Where does the law assign this role to a major general?”
A soldier of Pakistan Army can enter politics only after resigning from the services, the judge asserted adding, “What’s about Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad? Was there no mischief (Fasaad) in this protest?”
“Why was apology not sought from the protesters over their abusive words for the judiciary?” the judge queried and ordered to constitute a new committee headed by Barrister Zafarullah to ascertain as to who was behind the controversial amendment in Elections Bill 2017.
Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Chief Commissioner, and Inspector General Islamabad appeared before the court today. Court has adjourned the hearing till December 4.
During the course of the proceedings, Justice Siddiqui remarked, “Who is this military officer who became a mediator of the agreement?”
“Does the Constitution of Pakistan empower a military officer to become an arbitrator? Is Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa an executive? Who are these people to thank General Bajwa?” the judge raised multiple questions.
Justice Siddiqui asked Ahsan Iqbal to answer same question, “You talk about the Constitution. Then, who is this major general who became a mediator.”
Ahsan Iqbal replied the decision was taken up in consultation with the national leadership. On this, the judge quipped, “Is military the national leadership? Tell me as to how he became a mediator.”
“You took as mediator the Major General who should face court martial,” the judge said. Ahsan Iqbal said the army officer was on board only as a witness.
The court queried as to why Inspector General and commissioner were not taken for the purpose, adding, “You proved as to who this project belonged to. They and you are destroying the country to get the better of each other.”
Secretary Interior Arshad Mirza, in his arguments, said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has personally told Raja Zafar-ul-Haq to prepare a report on the protests.
Justice Shaukat Aziz stated that the protesters wanted the entire administration to fail and that’s exactly what happened.
“We have not embarrassed anybody,” he said adding, “You have embarrassed your own administration.”
“We called the military but they sought clarification under regarding the notification. We have replied to them,” Iqbal said.
The court asked Iqbal whether he called the military under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Ahsan Iqbal said that a head money worth Rs. 1 million has been announced for my killing.
“Zahid Hamid was sacrificed for protecting Information Technology Minister Anusha Rehman,” Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said.
Justice Shaukat Aziz said that state institutions themselves are working against the country. The court remarked, “Did the government ask about those who maligned the court?”
The court also asked the government’s lawyer to name the person who was behind the amendment of the clause regarding the finality of Prophethood of Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Justice Siddiqui said that the court had not ordered the government to sign an agreement with the protesters; instead, the court had ordered the government to vacate Faizabad Interchange.