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Justice Isa empowers panel to summon ex-leaders in Faizabad sit-in

Islamabad, 15 November, 2023(GNP): During the ongoing review petitions hearing on the 2017 Faizabad sit-in, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, reiterated that the newly established fact-finding commission, assigned to investigate the TLP-led protest, possesses the authority to summon former Prime Minister, ex-Army Chief, and former Chief Justice for inquiry.

In today’s session presided over by a three-member Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Isa, various petitions challenging the 2019 judgment on the Faizabad dharna case were reviewed.

The judgment, penned by Justice Isa before assuming the chief justice role, had urged defense authorities to penalize those under their command who violated their oaths.

The review witnessed several government departments raising concerns over the observations made in the judgment.

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The Ministry of Defence, Intelligence Bureau, PTI, Pemra, and others initially filed pleas against the verdict, though most later withdrew their petitions.

Former Pemra Chief, Absar Alam, revealed the interference of intelligence agencies and media coercion during the sit-in, prompting the court’s attention.

The Supreme Court urged the government to complete the fact-finding probe within the specified time frame and directed the ECP to submit a report on TLP and its funding within a month.

Attorney General for Pakistan, Mansoor Usman Awan, informed the apex court about the formation of a new fact-finding commission.

The committee, comprising three members, is mandated to investigate the sit-in, identify those responsible, and propose legal actions within two months.

Additionally, the court dismissed a review petition by AML Chief, Sheikh Rashid, who opted to withdraw the appeal during today’s proceedings.

The CJP remarked on the prolonged delay in addressing these cases, emphasizing the importance of speaking truthfully in the court.

The hearing reflected concerns regarding the involvement of currently serving individuals in the commission and the necessity for each institution to perform its duties.

The court adjourned the session for two months, expecting a report from the fact-finding commission and an amendment in its terms of reference to address concerns raised in the review.

The Faizabad sit-in disrupted life in Islamabad for 20 days in 2017, prompting negotiations and ultimately resulting in an agreement between the government and protesters to conclude the protest.