IHC directs to submit report of Faizabad sit-in case till February 20

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) warned on Monday that it will issue a contempt of court notice to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the three relevant federal ministers if the Senator Raja Zafarul Haq-led committee report is not presented in the next hearing.
The 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.
As Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui resumed hearing the Faizabad dharna (sit-in) case, Deputy Attorney General Arshad Kiyani informed the court that the report has not been presented as it is not final yet.
The judge remarked how it is possible that the report is incomplete even after the signature of Raja Zafarul Haq.
“Do you want us to demand the record directly from the National Assembly speaker and Senate chairman,” Justice Siddiqui remarked, adding that, “Don’t play hide and seek with the court”.
The hearing of the case was then adjourned until February 20 with directions to submit the report.
Late last year, a religious party protested 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.
During the protest, Justice Siddiqui had started proceedings over the issue of the controversial amendment as well as the agreement reached between the two sides.
At the last hearing of the case on Friday, Justice Siddiqui had expressed displeasure over the government’s failure to submit responses on the sit-in and failure to submit the report.
At that hearing, the court had also ordered the defence secretary to submit a response on the use of the army chief’s name in the agreement between protesters and the government.
The head of the Intelligence Bureau was also present in court but failed to submit an audio recording which went viral during the sit-in.
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 an earlier hearing on Jan 12, 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.