'You're a top agency, don't make a joke out of the country,' SC tells ISI

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC), on Wednesday, expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to monitor last year Faizabad Dharna.

During a suo-motu hearing of Faizabad sit-in, the two judge bench comprising of Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, also asked the country’s top spy-agency whether a cell to monitor the activities of such protests existed in the ISI or not, and if it did then was the top agency’s representative aware of who the protesters were, what the working of the group was like and the issues.

“You are a top agency, don’t make a joke out of the country,” remarked Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

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The bench also inquired about the financial sources and income of protesters, further questioning the budget of the ISI.

“Should the top court summon the ISI chief to get answers? If you [the representative] don’t have a coherent answer?”

Justice Isa further remarked that while the ISI is doing a lot, it is doing nothing for the people of Pakistan. He said that Pakistan did not come into being due to the army, it was the struggle of the common people.

The bench directed the agencies, including the ISI, to brief Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali over the queries raised by the bench.

The court further directed the AGP to submit a concise statement of the issues raised within 15 days.

Hundreds of Tehreek-e-Labbaik supporters had been camping at the Faizabad Interchange since November 6, calling for the resignation of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid who they blamed for a hastily-abandoned change in the oath of elected representatives.

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The government was forced to accept Tehreek-e-Labbaik’s demands after a government operation to break up the sit-in went awry and sparked violent protests across the country.

When the situation spiralled out of control, the government ordered police and paramilitary troops to stand down and called on the army to restore order in the federal capital.

Subsequently, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa went into a huddle with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi where they concurred that army troops would not use force against protesters and would only provide back-end support.

“On the assurance of the chief of the army staff, we are calling off the sit-in,” Tehreek-e-Labbaik leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi told a crowd of around 2,500 supporters who had occupied the Faizabad Interchange for three weeks, two days after the army intervention.

Gen Bajwa strongly denied any role of the army in recent issues that fomented political turmoil, including the Faizabad sit-in. “We had no role in the sit-in, Panama leaks, or Dawn leaks. We did not cause any of these issues,” a lawmaker quoted him as saying in reply to a question. The blockade of the crucial intersection of the twin cities by a religious group paralysed traffic for three weeks before the government signed a deal with the protesters.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1599623/1-youre-top-agency-dont-make-joke-country-sc-tells-isi/