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‘Why Were Peaceful Activists Charged With Sedition’: IHC Seeks Explanation From Magistrate

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Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has sought an explanation from an Islamabad city magistrate for charging the 23 activists of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and Awami Workers Party (AWP) with sedition. The activists were arrested at a protest against the arrest of PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen.

According to Dawn newspaper, during the hearing today, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was informed that it was Islamabad City Magistrate Ghulam Mudassir who ordered the registration of FIR against the 23 individuals.

Expressing displeasure, Justice Minallah asked: “How can you first place sedition charges on peaceful protesters and later turn them into terrorism charges? Today you are saying that the terrorism charges have also been dropped,” the IHC chief justice said.

Justice Minallah went on to say that why shouldn’t the court start proceedings against the one who asked for the case to be registered? “The magistrate should appear in court and tell us why he gave such orders,” the judge said, suggesting taking away judicial powers of the magistrate.

He also ordered the magistrate to give an explanation to the court along with a sworn affidavit.

“We will turn this case into an example for everyone,” the IHC chief justice said, as he adjourned the hearing till February 17.

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