PAT sit-in: LHC asks parties to decide matter jointly

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday, hearing a petition against Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s (PAT) scheduled sit-in, directed the Punjab government, petitioner and the PAT to jointly formulate the strategy regarding it else the court would decide the matter itself.

On Tuesday, the court had barred the PAT from staging sit-in on The Mall on a petition filed by Naeem Mir, Secretary General, The Mall Traders Association against PAT’s step of staging a sit-in at busy thoroughfare.

Today, when the hearing resumed, CCPO Lahore and Advocate General Punjab appeared before the single-judge bench of the LHC. The AG Punjab informed the court that the PAT wanted to create law and order situation in the city through the protest.

Hearing arguments from the PAT, Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh asked the counsel to apprise the court over the duration of the sit-in, to which he replied that he has no information from his client in this regard.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the petitioner’s counsel Asad Manzoor Butt, arguing before the court, submitted that the court had imposed a ban on staging rallies at The Mall, but despite that, rallies were being staged.

He pointed out that in another case regarding implementation of the ban on rallies at The Mall, a provincial law officer assured the court that all steps would be taken to ensure the ban at The Mall.

However, after a few days, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri staged a rally on The Mall on August 8, which kept the road closed for many hours.

He said that the PAT leadership had announced staging a sit-in at The Mall on August 16, with a demand to make public the Model Town Inquiry Commission report.

He contended that the step would not only affect the business activities but also cause problems for people.

He pleaded with the court to issue directions for implementation of the ban on rallies at The Mall.

To a court query, the Punjab advocate general submitted that Section 144 had been imposed at The Mall and action would be taken if any violation was committed.

However, Advocate Ishtiaq Chaudhry, on behalf of the PAT, apprised the court that the PAT was planning to hold a demonstration at The Mall on August 16 but the venue (Faisal Chowk/Charing Cross) had been changed.

He further stated that sit-in would now be held in or around Nasir Bagh but the exact location of the venue was still not decided yet.

At this, the court sought reply from the PAT till August 16 and directed the party to act in accordance with the law and abide by commitment made by its counsel.

PAT preparations

On the hand, the PAT continued its preparation for their sit–in at Lahore’s Istanbul Chowk.

Earlier today, Tahir-ul-Qadri’s container along with other equipment was moved to the roundabout ahead of the scheduled sit-in.

Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid has reached Lahore to attend the sit-in, while PML-Q also lent its support to PAT.

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