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Islamabad protests our constitutional right: PTI, PAT

Posted on Aug 22 2014 | IANS

Islamabad, Aug 22 : The anti-government protests in Pakistani capital's Constitution Avenue area are peaceful demonstrations, in accordance with the constitutional rights of citizens, Pakistan's PTI and PAT parties contended during a Supreme Court hearing Friday.

The opposition Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) filed their response before the Supreme Court on a petition challenging their sit-in in the Constitution Avenue in Islamabad, Dawn online reported.

The political campaigns launched by the two parties demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation have been condemned by the legal fraternity in Pakistan, including bar associations across provinces, for putting the parliamentary and democratic system in the country in peril.

During the hearing before a five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, the PTI contended that it was the constitutional right of the party to hold protests.

The party said the measures adopted by the party were within the parameters of the Constitution.

However, the court observed that the country was presently "in the midst of a political impasse".

PAT's counsel assured the court that the party favoured the rule of law.

"It is a peaceful demonstration, we are not blocking roads, neither are we stopping anybody from entering the buildings and do not intend to cause any damage to the buildings. It is the government that is blocking access by placing containers," the PAT counsel said.

The PTI also requested the court to order authorities to remove the containers which are installed in the capital to block routes, adding that the biggest obstacle in the freedom and mobility of civilians were these containers.

Earlier this week, the Lahore High Court's Multan Bar Association filed the petition in the Supreme Court against Imran Khan and Qadri for breaching the rights of common people and free movement.

The lawyers, on the call of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP), observed complete strike Thursday against the sit-ins in Islamabad.

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