IB withdraws plea against SC verdict on Faizabad sit-in

ISLAMABAD  -  The Intelligence Bureau (IB) Tuesday filed an application, a day be­fore the hearing of the case, to withdraw its review petition against the Supreme Court judgment on the Faiz­abad dharna.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Qazi Faez Isa and compris­ing Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah will hear the petitions of Inter-Ser­vices Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Military Intelli­gence (MI), and In­ter-Services Public Re­lations (ISPR), PTI, MQM-P, Election Com­mission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan Elec­tronic Media Regulato­ry Authority (Pemra tomorrow against the Feb­ruary 6, 2019 verdict. The SC judgment has direct­ed the intelligence agencies and the ISPR not to exceed their constitutional man­date. The pleas were not tak­en up during the tenures of the last three chief justices, namely Asif Saeed Khosa, Gulzar Ahmed and Umar Ata Bandial. Amjad Iqbal, Dep­uty Director (Litigation) IB, who has been authorized by the DG Intelligence Bureau, filed an application to with­draw the review petition un­der Order XXXIII Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980. The application said: “The petitioner (DG IB) in­tends to withdraw the Civ­il Review Petition and does not want to pursue the mat­ter in the title case (Faiz­abad dharna).” “It is, there­fore, humbly prayed that this application may be accept­ed and the titled Civil Re­view Petition may kindly be allowed to be withdrawn,” it added. The ISI in its review petition contended that the Faizabad judgment would adversely affect the morale of the Armed Forces. It fur­ther said that the court’s ob­servations would gather the impression that the Armed Forces and the premier intel­ligence agency were respon­sible for such “unconstitu­tional acts”. It added that the verdict displaced the image of the Armed Forces defend­ing the country against the menace of terrorism with that of those “mired in poli­tics, manipulating elections, subverting free speech, muz­zling the press and funding extremists”. Justice Isa, in his 2019 Faizabad Dharna judg­ment, had written that the Constitution emphatically prohibited members of the Armed Forces from engag­ing in any kind of political activity, which included sup­porting a political party, fac­tion or individual. “The gov­ernment of Pakistan through the ministry of defence and the respective chiefs of the army, the navy and the air force are directed to initiate action against the person­nel under their command who are found to have vi­olated their oath,” read the 43-page verdict authored by incumbent CJP Isa. CJ Isa in his Faizabad Dharna judg­ment had held that no one, including any government, department or intelligence agency, could curtail the fun­damental right of freedom of speech, expression and press beyond the parame­ters mentioned in Article 19 of the Constitution.

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