Punjab

LHC reserves verdict on petition against PAT’s Mall Road protest

A three-member Lahore High Court (LHC) bench has reserved its decision on a petition against Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)-led protest scheduled to begin on Mall Road around 2pm today.
Traders of Mall Road and Advocate AK Dogar had challenged the protest in the LHC.
A larger bench headed by Justice Aminuddin Khan and comprising Justices Shahid Jamil Khan and Shahid Karim heard the case.
Punjab Advocate General (AG) Shakeelur Rehman and counsels of the respondents were present in the court.
The Punjab government presented its report on the protest in court.
The AG said the protest administration has been informed of the security threats and problems related to the demonstration.
When asked by the court if the protest is a one-off demonstration or a continued sit-in, Dogar responded that from Qadri’s speeches it seems the protest will be a prolonged sit-in.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s counsel, Latif Khosa, when asked the same, informed the court that there are chances the protest could continue for more than a day.
The court then reserved its decision and is expected to announce it later today.
During the hearing of the case on Tuesday, the petitioners argued that Mall Road is an economic hub and the protest will hinder livelihoods of people. The petitioners stated that Nasir Bagh should be considered as an alternative venue for the protest.
After the arguments, the LHC sought replies from the federal government, PEMRA and other parties.
Meanwhile, the LHC dismissed the plea requesting an initial order to stop the protest.
The administration had stated earlier that people protesting should not choose Mall Road, as Section 144 is in place in the area which forbids more than four people to gather at one place.
Earlier on Tuesday, the LHC chief justice had formed a three-member bench, to be headed by Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan and comprising Justices Shahid Karim and Aminuddin Khan.
However, Justice Irfan later recused himself from the case citing personal reasons.