In a major development, the federal government told the Supreme court that it has formed an inquiry commission to probe the Faizabad sit-in as hearing in the case resumed on Wednesday.
A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa resumed hearing the Faizabad sit-in case on Wednesday. The bench includes Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aminuddin Khan as well.
Attorney General Mansoor Awan submitted a notification about the commission’s formation in court and read out the terms of reference before the bench.
The commission will be headed by former Inspector General Syed Akhtar Ali Shah and will include former IG Tahir Alam Khan and Khushal Khan, additional secretary interior.
The chief justice remarked that the commission would be able to summon ex-army chiefs, prime ministers and chief justices as well. He added that the commission would be empowered to arrest those who did not heed its summons.
However, the CJP also questioned if the commission would make history or just prove to be another eye wash. Justice Isa also said he hoped that the commission would would work in a free and fair manner.
The hearing was then adjourned till January 22.
Earlier, the attorney general told reporters in the Supreme Court that the government has decided to form a commission as suggested by the court in the last hearing and a notification regarding the commission’s constitution will be submitted in court today.
The bench had rejected a fact-finding committee consisting of ministry of defence officials which had been set up by the government.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa had remarked that the committee’s TOR’s had cleared everyone already. The court instead recommended that an inquiry commission be set up for the issue.
Sheikh Rasheed withdraws petition
Veteran politician Sheikh Rasheed also arrived at the SC on Wednesday. His lawyer told the bench that they wished to withdraw their appeal in the case.
The chief justice asked why the review petition by Rasheed had been submitted in the first place to which the lawyer replied that some ‘misconceptions’ had been created by intelligence agency reports in the case.
Sheikh Rasheed tried to approach the rostrum to speak but was not allowed to by Justice Isa.
Multiple review petitions had been filed against the verdict issued in 2019 by PTI, Intelligence Bureau, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, MQM, former interior minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, and the Election Commission among others.
However, multiple petitioners have also sought to withdraw their petitions in the case after it was fixed for hearign by Justice Isa.