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State can halt protest on grounds of national security, IHC rules on Azadi March

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday observed that peaceful citizens could not be deprived of their right to protest, but the state may restrain a person from exercising this right on the grounds of national security.

The IHC in its four page written verdict on the pleas filed against Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s Azadi March, said the constitution guarantees right of freedom of expression to its citizens.

The Islamabad High Court said holding peaceful protest was a constitutional right and that protesters must not violate the rights of other citizens.

It added that the organisers and participants of the protest had the obligation to remain peaceful, unarmed, and to comply with the law.

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Disposing of the petitions, the court observed that it was the State’s responsibility to ensure the rights of all citizens.

The IHC had previously ordered the capital administration to earmark a place for holding of protests in Islamabad so that netizens won’t have to face any kind of hardship.

On Oct. 3, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced that the “Azadi March” will begin on October 27 after staging protest demonstration to express solidarity with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir.



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