SC lashes out at security agencies for failing to submit new report on Faizabad sit-in

Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court on Wednesday lashed out at security agencies for “failing to produce a new report” on last year’s Faizabad sit-in.

After a weeks-long protest at the Faizabad interchange that had disrupted life in the capital, the government and protesters reached an army-brokered agreement in November 2017, in which the former had conceded to the latter’s demands.

Justice Isa is part of a two-member SC bench, along with Justice Musheer Alam, which has been hearing a suo motu case regarding the use of abusive language during the sit-in and the difficulties caused to residents of the capital by the roadblocks placed by the agitators.

Justice Isa asked the attorney general on Wednesday if the agencies had a report to submit.

The attorney general told the bench that no such report has been furnished because the court had not passed any orders in this regard. To this, Justice Isa said that the security agencies should have submitted a new report when the court had expressed its dissatisfaction over the previous report on the same issue.

“Who is paying you? Who is paying the Inter-Services Intelligence? No one should consider itself above the law,” he said while addressing the attorney general.

“The army did not establish this country and the state will not be ruled on the whims and wishes of anyone.”

“Read history to know how Pakistan was established; Quaid-e-Azam was not surrounded by a brigade but a leadership willing to create Pakistan,” he said.

Last month, the SC had rejected ISI’s report on the Faizabad sit-in, calling it “unsatisfactory”. “This report is deeply unsettling: it has been prepared by one of the premier agencies of the country, yet a journalist could have given more details [about the protests] than this report,” Justice Isa had said after reviewing the document.

‘Army involved in commercial activities’

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also criticised the military on Wednesday, questioning its involvement in commercial activities.

He was hearing a petition demanding to make the Faizabad sit-in inquiry report public.

The court, during earlier hearings, had lashed out at the government as well as the army for the role assigned to the military “as the mediator” to end the sit-in. Justice Siddiqui had pointed out that the army chief instead of following the orders of the chief executive became a mediator. “Who is the army to adopt a mediator’s role?” the judge had inquired. “Where does the law assign this role to a major general?”

On Wednesday, Justice Siddiqui remarked: “No army in the world is involved in commercial activities but our’s is selling even cement, meat and bread.”

He said that the court will issue a notice to defence secretary to know about the stance of the ministry over the issue.

“They want to earn as per a commercial model but want to be dealt with like an armed force,” he said. Justice Siddiqui went on to say that people have been made mental, economic and moral slaves.

The court issued a notice to the attorney general, seeking a reply on the issue.

The petitioner, through his counsel, contended that they had approached the registrar office for access to the report but the plea was denied. Justice Siddiqui replied on a lighter note, saying that he was already facing six references against him and it seemed that the petitioner wanted Siddiqui to face the seventh one.

“The report has been sealed as per a court order,” he told the lawyer.

The case was deferred for an indefinite period.

Source: Dawn

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