Move On Pakistan leaders go to court ISLAMABAD: The leadership of the political party which is inviting the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif to take over approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in order to avoid being arrested and obtain protective bail.
After the prime minister’s return from the UK, where he stayed for 48 days to recuperate after cardiac surgery, Move On Pakistan has put up banners inviting the COAS to take over the government.
The banners were put up in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Hyderabad and other places by the Move On Pakistan party, and while previously the party was urging the army chief to reconsider his plans to retire coming November, this time the party’s message was for General Sharif to take over. One of the messages says:Janay ki baatain hui puraani, Khuda k liye ab ajao (Talks of leaving have gotten old, for God’s sake come mow).
Party chairman maintains his message was misconstrued, did not call for imposition of martial law
The party’s Facebook page uploaded pictures of General Sharif on July 11 with the caption: “General Sharif has been invited to impose Martial Law”.
After the director general Inter Services Public Relations on July 12 tweeted that “Reference posters with COAS pic being displayed across various cities; Army or any affiliated organisation have nothing to do with it,” Move On Pakistan changed its messages on subsequent Facebook posts.
The party said on July 13 that “some elements in media misconstrue” their messages and that Move On Pakistan had never supported the imposition of martial law.
The Islamabad Police on July 14 registered a case against the party on charges of criminal conspiracy and the petitioners had cited the interior ministry and inspector general (IG) Islamabad police as respondents.
Before the IHC, Move On Pakistan Chairman Mohammad Kamran and his associates Ali Raza and Asif Iqbal maintained their message had been misconstrued.
Mr Kamran has said through his petition that he was heading a registered party and that by placing the said banners, he did not mean for any unconstitutional measures to be taken. He said he only meant to request the army chief to continue with his fight against terrorism.
The petitioners argued that the banners only expressed their opinion, which is their fundamental right according to Article 19 of the Constitution. They said the banners were placed across the country in a legal manner without aiming to entice the general public to disturb the tranquility and peace in the country. The petitioners said their message had been wrongly interpreted.
The Move On Pakistan chairman said he had clarified his stance on TV channels and that he had heard in the news that an FIR had been lodged against him and that authorities had been directed to arrest him without providing him an opportunity to reach a judicial forum.
The petitioners requested the court to grant them protective bail to access the concerned court.
IHC Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani granted them protective bail against surety bonds worth Rs20,000 each and disposed of the case while directing the petitioners to appear before the concerned court on July 22.