ISLAMABAD: The protestors, staging a sit-in at Faizabad Interchange, remained put as the deadline to vacate the vital junction passed on Friday night.
Law-enforcers, equipped in riot gear, were present near the site of the sit-in but had not taken any action as the hour given by the district administration to disperse passed.
Earlier today, the Islamabad High Court had (IHC) took notice of the non-implementation of its earlier orders directing the dislodging of the protest sit-in at Faizabad Interchange.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had directed the authorities to vacate the key route from the protesters by 10am Saturday (tomorrow).
During the court proceedings, Justice Siddiqui had remarked that the protesters have not taken the court orders seriously, adding that the district administration has failed to use its powers.
“Freedom of expression does not mean that the rights of other citizens are usurped,” he added.
Having summoned officials of the capital administration, Justice Siddiqui ordered the police to take the assistance of Frontier Constabulary (FC) and Rangers if needed and clear the site through peaceful or non-peaceful means.
‘They have weapons’
The court wanted action to be taken on Friday but the deputy commissioner had asked for time to make preparations. He had also added that the protesters were carrying weapons.
Justice Siddiqui maintained that the administration failed to play its due role in resolving the crisis and merely watched the spectacle unfold as a ‘cricket spectator’.
Following Friday’s court order, the district administration had called a meeting in which it was decided to give the protesters a ‘last chance’.
The administration decided that the protesters will be given until 10pm Friday night to disperse on their own.
Meanwhile, earlier, a district magistrate, in a letter to the organisers of the protest, had stated that the administration will now be compelled to take strict action as the continuance of the sit-in will be considered contempt of court.
Two religious parties have been camped at the key route linking Islamabad and Rawalpindi for nearly two weeks in protest against the government’s change, and then reversal, of the finality of Prophethood oath for lawmakers when it passed the Elections Act, 2017 last month.
They have demanded the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid and other officials responsible for what the government termed a ‘clerical mistake’.
On Thursday, hearing the petition filed by Maulana Allah Wasaya, a member of the protesting group, against the amendments to the clauses related to the finality of Prophethood in the Elections Act, 2017, Justice Siddiqui remarked that the petition will be taken up on the condition of ending the sit-in.
He had directed the petitioner’s counsel to abide by the law and end the sit-in so the public’s miseries can end. The judge observed further that the young, elderly, employees, and students are being adversely affected due to the protest.
In a written order issued later, the judge asked the government why it failed to control the situation and allow the protesters to occupy Faizabad Interchange instead of directing them to the designated venue for protests — Parade Ground.
The Islamabad police chief and chief commissioner, as well as an interior ministry official, were summoned in person at the next hearing.