The federal government on Friday informed the Supreme Court it has formed a fact-finding committee to investigate the “role and directions” of all “concerned” officials in managing and handling the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP)’s 2017 Faizabad sit-in.
The disclosure emerged in an implementation report submitted by Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan and noted that the committee would identify the people responsible for the adverse impacts of the TLP sit-in in accordance with the apex court’s ruling of Feb. 6, 2019. It said the committee comprises senior officials of the interior and defense ministries, as well as the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The implementation report states that the terms of reference of the fact-finding committee require it to collect and review all available evidence related to the Faizabad sit-in. Additionally, it would record the statements of witnesses and then assess the issue as per “applicable laws, regulations and policies.” It would also determine “the role/directions of all concerned related to management and handling of the matter,” have the authority to examine any other relevant subjects, and submit a report with recommendations to the Defense Ministry by Dec. 1.
The report further states that the committee would determine who gave orders regarding the Faizabad sit-in. If the committee requires more time, it said, it would approach the defense ministry for support. According to the report, the committee held its first meeting on Oct. 26 (Thursday).
The Faizabad dharna case pertains to the 2017 sit-in. A two-member bench comprising Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Mushir Alam heard the case, issuing a verdict on Feb. 6, 2019 in which it said anyone issuing a fatwa against another person, or putting their life in harm’s way, should be prosecuted under relevant laws and dealt with an iron hand. It also ruled that the intelligence agencies must not exceed their respective mandates.
Subsequently, the then-federal government, as well as several political parties had filed review pleas contesting the apex court’s judgment. Taking up the review pleas, a three-member bench led by CJP Isa had on Sept. 28 expressed annoyance over the non-implementation of its order and directed all parties to submit written replies by Oct. 27.
Earlier this week, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also submitted its implementation report to the apex court, stating that it had not found any evidence of the TLP being involved in any terrorist activity. “We are of the view that responded no. 3 [TLP] is not involved in any anti-state activity or terrorism, hence at this stage the instant case is disposed of as withdrawn,” it added.