IHC seeks Raja Zafarul Haq committee report over Khatm-e-Nubuwwat issue

ISLAMABAD –  The Islamabad High Court has directed the federal government to submit the report of Raja Zafarul Haq-led committee that had investigated the change made in the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat declaration in the recently passed Election Bill 2017.

Hearing a case regarding the Faizabad sit-in, on Friday, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also summoned the secretaries of the defence and interior ministries as well as the director general of the Intelligence Bureau to explain how the Tehreek-e-Labbaik protesters occupied the main entrance to Islamabad.

The judge, who had earlier ordered the protesters to vacate the site, warned the federal secretaries of contempt of court provided they fail to comply with the orders.

Don’t compel the court or it could [even] summon the prime minister,” observed the judge and added that neither the report nor para-wise comments had been submitted in the case.

In a previous order, Justice Siddiqui fired a broadside at the spy agencies observing that “there is a serious need for our sensitive institutions to dispel the impression that activity of Faizabad Interchange (dharna) is sponsored by the intelligence agencies”.

Justice Siddiqui had said the twin cities remained paralysed because of the sit-in.

“This is not freedom of expression rather anti-state activity,” he remarked and adjourned the hearing till February 9.

Election Bill 2017

The National Assembly had passed an amendment to the Election Act, 2017, which was aimed at changing the eligibility criteria for a political party head, but it also amended the subject of the Finality of Prophethood or Khatm-e-Nubuwwat.

The manipulation, which was initially dubbed a clerical mistake by the speaker of national assembly triggered a protest by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) which staged a 21-day-long sit-in at Faizabad Interchange.

The protesters forced the government to seek the resignation of the then law minister Zahid Hamid after the government operation to break up the sit-in failed under mysterious circumstances.

The election act was later restored in its original form regarding the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat clause, however, the amendment regarding political party head remained intact, that paved way for former Premier Nawaz Sharif to become president of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz.