IHC summons magistrate for including sedition charges against ‘peaceful’ protesters
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday demanded an explanation from an Islamabad city magistrate for including sedition charges in the first-information report (FIR) registered against the 23 activists who had been detained for protesting outside the press club against the arrest of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen.
During the hearing Tuesday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was told that Islamabad City Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Chandio ordered for the FIR to be registered against the 23 individuals, which included activists from the Awami Workers Party (AWP) and PTM. “What is this? How can you first place sedition charges on peaceful protesters and later turn them into terrorism charges?” Justice Minallah questioned.
The court was informed Tuesday that terrorism charges had also been dropped from the FIR against the protesters.
“Today you are saying that the terrorism charges have also been dropped,” the IHC chief justice noted.
“Why should we not start proceedings against the one who asked for the case to be registered? The magistrate should appear in court and tell us why he gave such orders,” Justice Minallah said.
The judge then proceeded to order that the magistrate provide the court his explanation along with a sworn affidavit.
“How about we take away judicial powers from the magistrate?” the chief justice remarked, while once again summoning the Islamabad chief commissioner and the Islamabad police chief to court in the next hearing.
“We will turn this case into an example for everyone,” the IHC chief justice said, as he adjourned the hearing till February 17.