“You are a top agency, don’t make a joke out of the country,” Pakistan’s Supreme Court told the Inter-Services Intelligence on Wednesday, as it criticised the country’s powerful spy agency for not doing enough to contain a violent protest in Islamabad in November, The Express Tribune reported.
The Tehreek-i-Labaik, a little known hardline group, began protesting on November 6 (pictured above), after the Pakistan government amended the oath that election candidates must take. The protestors objected to changes in the text of the form which the candidates are needed to sign. The candidates were earlier expected to “solemnly swear” that they believe Muhammad was Islam’s last prophet. The new form asked candidates to simply say they “believe” in the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood.
While the government quickly reversed this change, the protestors said they will continue agitating till Law Minister Zahid Hamid resigns. Hamid stepped down after six people were killed and than 200 were injured.
On Wednesday, during a suo motu hearing regarding the protests, the two judge bench of the Supreme Court in Pakistan asked the ISI whether it had a cell to monitor activities of such protests, PTI reported. The court said if the ISI monitored such groups, was it aware of who the protestors were and where their funds come from.
The court said it was not satisfied with the reports submitted by the ISI and Intelligence Bureau, and said the media had more information about the protests.
“Should the top court summon the ISI chief to get answers?” the court asked, and told the agency to give Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali answers to its questions. The court asked Ali to submit a statement within 15 days.