Faizabad dharna: Inquiry commission summons Shehbaz Sharif on Jan 3

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Faizabad dharna

ISLAMABAD: An inquiry commission formed to probe the 2017 Faizabad sit-in has summoned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif on January 3 (Wednesday), sources told Geo News on Monday.

They said Shehbaz has been summoned as former Punjab chief minister to record his statement in connection with an inquiry into the sit-in staged by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in the federal capital against the then PML-N-led government in November 2017.

In November last year, the caretaker federal government constituted the inquiry commission for the implementation of the top court’s 2019 Faizabad verdict.

The probe panel was constituted on the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan under the chair of retired IGP Akhtar Ali Shah after the apex court rejected the fact-finding committee report constituted by the government.

On November 15, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa had remarked that the commission would be empowered to summon anyone, including former army chiefs, prime ministers and chief justices.

The inquiry commission is required to submit its report to the top court on January 22.

Earlier, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ex-interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, then-secretary to PM Fawad Hasan Fawad and other senior officials serving in Islamabad and Punjab who were involved in the episode had appeared before the probe panel.

However, former director general (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General (retd) Faiz Hamid yet again skipped the hearing of the Faizabad Dharna Inquiry Commission (FDIC) last month, The News had reported.

This was the second time that the former ISI chief remained absent from the hearing being conducted by the inquiry commission, which earlier summoned him in the second week of December last year and then on December 29, sources added.

Faizabad verdict
In November 2017, the top court had taken suo motu notice of the three-week-long sit-in, which was held against a change in the finality-of-Prophethood oath, termed by the government as a clerical error, when the government passed the Elections Act 2017.

The sit-in was called off after the protesters reached an agreement with the government.

On February 6, 2019, a two-member bench of the apex court comprising the now-CJP Isa and Justice Mushir Alam recommended that persons, issuing an edict or fatwa to harm another person or put another person in the harm’s way must be dealt with iron hand and prosecuted under relevant laws.

It also ruled that the intelligence agencies must not exceed their respective mandates. Later, the bench disposed of a suo moto case regarding the 2017 Faizabad sit-in staged by the TLP.

The 43-page verdict issued by the two-judge bench and published on the apex court’s website read: “Every citizen and political party has the right to assemble and protest provided such assembly and protest is peaceful and complies with the law imposing reasonable restrictions in the interest of public order.

“The right to assemble and protest is circumscribed only to the extent that it infringes on the fundamental rights of others, including their right to free movement and to hold and enjoy property.”