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Stay away from politics: Pak SC to Army, ISI

Posted in S. Asia

Published on February 10, 2019 with No Comments

Orders the government to act against those propagating ‘hatred, extremism and terrorism’

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has prohibited members of the armed forces from engaging in political activities and directed state agencies like the ISI to operate within the law as it ordered the government to act against those propagating “hatred, extremism and terrorism”. The order by a two-member Bench of the apex court came while delivering a verdict on the 2017 Faizabad sit-in by the hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other smaller groups.

“We direct the federal and provincial governments to monitor those advocating hate, extremism and terrorism and prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with the law,” the Bench comprising Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Mushir Alam ruled. The court also directed all government agencies and departments, including those run by the army like Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to operate within the limits defined by the law.

The court also ordered that members of the armed forces were prohibited from engaging in any kind of political activity, which includes supporting a party, faction or individual. “The Government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defence and the respective chiefs of the army, navy and air force are directed to initiate action against the personnel under their command who are found to have violated their oath,” the court said.

Several experts were of the view that Prime Minister Imran Khan was supported by the country’s powerful army in last year’s general election. Pakistan’s powerful military has ruled the country through various coups for nearly half of the country’s history since Independence in 1947. The military plays an important role in the country’s decision-making. The apex court also outlawed religious edicts called ‘fatwas’ that aimed to harm others. The court upheld that subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law, citizens have the right to form and to be members of political parties. They can also assemble for peaceful protest. 

 

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