Faizabad sit-in case: Sheikh Rashid files plea to withdraw review petition

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Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday filed a miscellaneous application in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking the withdrawal of his review petition in the Faizabad sit-in case.

It is pertinent to know that multiple review pleas were filed challenging the apex court’s verdict — given by the apex court’s two-member bench comprising now-Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mushir Alam — on the Faizabad sit-in staged by the TLP in 2017 against the then-Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

Rashid, in his application to the top court, has argued that neither he was part of the 2017 protests nor has any connection with the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP).

The former minister’s application for withdrawal comes after the federal government along with Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI), the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Muslim League-Zia (PML-Z) President Ijaz Ul Haq’s pleas retracting their review petitions.

The three-member Supreme Court bench led by CJP Isa will hear review petitions in the Faizabad sit-in case on November 1.

Govt forms ‘fact-finding committee’

Earlier in the day, the federal government — via an implementation report submitted by Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan — apprised the top court about the formation of a fact-finding committee to investigate the “role and directions” of all “concerned” officials in management and handling the Faizabad sit-in.

The committee will submit a report based on the recommendations collected following the investigation to the Ministry of Defence by December 1.

The fact-finding committee comprises senior officials from interior and defence ministries and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and will collect evidence related to the Faizabad sit-in and review all the evidence, documents and records received in relation to the case.

In November 2017, the top court took 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 PTI-led federal government on April 15, 2019, along with AML, MQM, Pemra, and IB had filed review pleas contesting the apex court’s judgment delivered by the incumbent Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa regarding the Faizabad sit-in case.

In the 43-page verdict issued by the two-judge bench, the court recommended that persons, issuing an edict or fatwa to harm another person or put another person in harm’s way must be dealt with iron hand and prosecuted under relevant laws.

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