Petitions seeking ban on PDM rallies declared non-maintainable
December 3, 2020 05:51 PM
In the backdrop of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rallies, the judiciary on Thursday declared two petitions as non-maintainable through which court intervention was sought to stop political and religious gatherings, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Rejecting one of the petitions, Justice Jawad Hassan of Lahore High Court remarked that the political parties were not an institution.
A citizen Nadeem Sarwar had moved the court with a plea that the PDM should be barred from holding the planned rally in Lahore on December 13 amid the coronavirus spread.
Similarly, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that the TV channels could not be barred from airing news items in which the coronavirus SOPs were being violated.
The constitutional court cannot direct PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) for imposing a ban that would be a violation of Article 19 of the Constitution, the court noted in a written judgment. The matter was related to freedom of expression and political rights, the chief justice added.
A reference has been made to Article 19 in this verdict which guarantees freedom of speech and expression to every citizen.
Similarly, Article 19-A reads, “Every citizen shall have the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law.”
The petitioner had argued that the Islamabad High Court that ensuring implementation on the coronavirus SOPs was a responsibility of the state and, therefore, all political and religious gatherings must be banned.
He also mentioned that the court in a recent verdict had declared implementing the SOPs defined by National Command and Operation Centre necessary.
But Chief Justice Minallah observed that the petitioner should keep faith in the Parliament where a solution could be found.
According to the chief justice, these kinds of issues should not be brought before the court. It is the Parliament, not the judiciary, which deals with war, economic matters, foreign affairs and natural disasters.