General

Faizabad dharna case: IHC warns of contempt proceedings if reports not submitted

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) expressed displeasure today at the government’s failure to submit responses on the Faizabad dharna (sit-in) and the Senator Raja Zafarul Haq-led committee report.
Hearing the dharna violence case today, the judge expressed displeasure at the government’s failure to present Haq’s report, as well as the defence secretary’s failure to submit the report regarding the agreement between the protesters and the government and why the army chief’s name was mentioned in it.
Deputy Attorney General Arshad Kiyani informed the court that the signature of one member of the committee is not on the report hence it has not been submitted today.
Furthermore, the defence secretary was directed to resubmit the report at the next hearing.
The head of the Intelligence Bureau was also present in court today but failed to submit the required audio recording after which he was summoned again on Feb 12.
The judge warned that contempt proceedings will be initiated against officials for not complying with court orders.
“We will not allow the matter to be brushed under the carpet,” the judge remarked.
The capital’s chief commissioner and inspector general of police were also present in court.
Workers of a religious party had been protesting against the government at Faizabad Interchange of Islamabad for around three weeks in November last year, bringing the capital to a standstill.
The Zafarul Haq-led committee was formed to probe the issue of the amendment in the oath regarding the Finality of Prophethood when the Elections Act 2017 was passed last year.
The religious party was protesting against the amendment, which was later reversed by the government, and ended its protest after an agreement was reached with the government, which included the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid.
At the last hearing of the case on January 12, Justice Siddiqui had expressed displeasure over the respondents’ failure to submit para-wise comments and report on the dharna.
At the hearing, the court had also directed the respondents to submit the Haq report
Justice Siddiqui on December 4 had ordered the defence secretary to probe who used the army chief’s name in the agreement between the protesters and government but the report was not submitted, drawing the court’s ire.
At the Jan 12 hearing, the attorney general had argued that since the matter is pending before the Supreme Court, the IHC may not proceed in the matter.
However, Justice Siddiqui remarked that the apex court is only hearing the matter regarding the dharna, which has no connection with the probe committee report.