Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the government, looking for the contempt proceedings against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan for ‘violating’ the apex court’s orders regarding the party’s Azadi March.
The petition was heard by the five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, including Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Dawn newspaper reported.
The case was filed by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf. The bench said that the apex court’s orders from Wednesday would remain in place.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed the federal government and the PTI to constitute their negotiating committees and meet at 10 pm on the same day to finalise modalities for the party’s peaceful and safe long march to Islamabad.
However, negotiations were not held as both sides claimed that the other had not shown up.
It also ordered the government to designate a spot in H-9 where the protesters could rally. However, protesters converged on D-Chowk instead, reported Dawn.
The chief justice directed the government to do its work in line with Wednesday’s orders and said the SC would issue a judgement regarding the case which would be an “example for the future”.
“We are not conducting proceedings in order to accuse anyone,” he iterated. “The court issued the order only against violation of constitutional rights.”
Earlier, police in Pakistan fired tear gas and clashed with supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the wee hours of Thursday as Imran Khan started reaching Islamabad to demand fresh elections.
Tension gripped the country as clashes took place between police and PTI workers after authorities tried to block them from moving toward D-Chowk in the federal capital after Imran Khan warned his supporters would not vacate D-Chowk until a date for fresh polls was announced by the Shehbaz Sharif government.
Earlier in the day, looking at the uncontrolled protest march led by Imran Khan, the Shehbaz Sharif government has been forced to call in the army to protect the Red Zone.
The Pakistan government deployed the army in Red Zone to “protect important government buildings” after Imran Khan entered the federal capital amid rising tensions in the country.
Rights groups expressed deep concern at the highhandedness of law enforcement agencies in disrupting the PTI’s march to Islamabad.