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SC to take up review pleas challenging Faizabad sit-in verdict

Islamabad: The Supreme Court of [Country] has announced that it will hear review petitions pertaining to its 2019 verdict in the Faizabad sit-in case, a decision that stirred significant controversy at the time. The hearing is scheduled for September 28, and it promises to reexamine the legal and constitutional aspects of the original ruling.

The 2019 Faizabad sit-in verdict, authored by then-Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa, had instructed intelligence agencies to strictly adhere to their constitutional mandates. It had also criticized both the military and the government for their handling of the protest, shedding light on the complex dynamics surrounding the event.

The protest in question was organized by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious group, in the Faizabad area of Rawalpindi back in November 2017. Their demands included the resignation of the then-law minister over a perceived blasphemy issue. The sit-in had paralyzed the twin cities for over two weeks and concluded with an agreement brokered by the military between the TLP and the government.

In addition to addressing the Faizabad protest, the verdict had also raised questions about the legality of a 2014 sit-in organized by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), two opposition parties at the time, in protest against alleged rigging in the 2013 general election.

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The review petition challenging the 2019 verdict was filed by the country’s primary intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the interior ministry, and others in April 2019. They argued that the original verdict had the potential to adversely affect the morale of the armed forces.

Additionally, the PTI, which came to power in 2018, submitted its own petition on April 16, 2019, seeking a review of the verdict and requesting the Supreme Court to remove specific remarks related to its 2014 sit-in.

To oversee the review process, the Chief Justice has formed a three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Aminuddin Khan, and Justice Athar Minallah. This upcoming hearing is expected to shed further light on the legal implications of the original Faizabad sit-in verdict and its potential consequences on the role and accountability of government bodies and intelligence agencies.

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