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IHC questions legality of govt agreement with Islamabad protesters

ISLAMABAD: Questioning the validity of the government’s agreement, which brought an end to nearly three-week long protest by a religious group at the capital’s Faizabad Interchange, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday asked Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf to explain whether the agreement was legally valid.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC was hearing a case pertaining to the blockade of Islamabad’s main artery by protesters of Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA).

The court asked the attorney general to explain under what rationale the agreement in question was reached with the protesters, and terrorism charges against them for rioting in the capital were dropped.

On which, Ashtar Ausaf sought time to submit a detailed report answering the queries put to him by the court.

Justice Siddiqui remarked that he wanted to practically empower the parliament and gave the AG two options: Either the agreement be presented in parliament for its approval, or a high-level meeting of top federal officials summoned to spell out the legality of the agreement.

He adjourned the hearing for indefinite period owing to the Supreme Court seized with suo moto hearing into the similar case.

Though the apex court has not debarred him from proceedings in the case, but he is suspending the proceedings on moral grounds, Justice Siddiqui clarified.

Earlier, the judge took strong exception to the Army’s role as “mediator” in the agreement, questioning under what law an army officer assumed the role of a mediator?

He was referring to Major Gen Faiz Hameed, who is said to have mediated between the protesting religious parties and the government.

After three weeks-long protest, which paralyzed daily life in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and resulted in death of several people, ended on Nov 27 after the government had finally caved in to the protesters’s demand and signed an agreement with them.



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