Pakistan SC issues notice to Imran, Qadri

Islamabad, Aug 20 (IANS): The Pakistan Supreme Court Wednesday restrained Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahir-ul-Qadri from illegal and unlawful trespassing of prohibited zones.

The petition was filed by the Lahore High Court's Multan Bar Association, Dawn online reported.

The petitioner had named Imran Khan and Qadri as respondents.

The apex court restrained the respondents from illegal and unlawful trespassing of prohibited zones including Constitution Avenue, offices of foreign missions, Pakistan secretariat and secretariat offices, the report said.

The plea also requested that they be legally banned from conducting any sort of march, including dharna and civil disobedience, by offending public peace and tranquility in any manner.

The court said that every citizen has the right to protest according to the constitution as long as the protests did not cause any hardship to other citizens.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk admitted the petition.

Earlier Wednesday, the PTI agreed to talks with the government over alleged rigging of the 2013 general elections.

Senior PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Dawn newspaper over telephone that his party has agreed to negotiate with the government.

"We wish the government had taken our demands seriously," the PTI leader said.

"Our strategy is clear, we want to strengthen democracy and not derail it as opposed to the impression that is being given," he added.

Qureshi said the PTI had a six-point agenda which would be put forth on the negotiating table. He, however, refused to discuss it with the media.

PAT chief and an anti-government protest leader Tahir-ul-Qadri earlier Wednesday ordered his party legislators to lay siege to parliament, even as he called for "the sanctity of the national assembly to be maintained".

The PAT chief said that any person found guilty of attacking army personnel would have no association with him or his party.

Earlier, thousands of activists of the PTI and PAT forced their way to reach the parliament building demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Khan claims that the 2013 elections were rigged and that Sharif has a "fake mandate". He has demanded that fresh elections be held.

The protestors removed all hurdles to reach the "Red Zone" in the capital city that houses diplomatic missions and other important buildings including the prime minister's house.

The Pakistani Army has called for dialogue to resolve the political crisis.

The current "situation requires patience, wisdom and sagacity from all stakeholders", Xinhua quoted military spokesperson Asim Bajwa as saying Wednesday. He called for "meaningful dialogue in larger national and public interest to resolve the prevailing impasse".

Bajwa said the buildings in the "Red Zone" are symbols of the state and are being protected by the army and "therefore sanctity of these national symbols must be respected".

The army has been entrusted with the responsibility of securing Islamabad's sensitive Red Zone area.



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