Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the government, intelligence agencies, and the Army’s media wing to stick to its mandate and refrain from political activity, Dawn reported. The top court passed the order during its hearing of a case related to the 2017 Faizabad sit-in staged by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan. At least six people were killed and hundreds were injured in the violence that ensued.
The court also directed federal and provincial governments to monitor and prosecute those advocating hate, extremism and terrorism.
The bench comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mushir Alam ruled that the Constitution does not allow Armed forces personnel from engaging in any political activity. It said that the Inter-Services Intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau, military intelligence and the Inter-Services Public Relations should operate within the mandate assigned to them.
“They cannot curtail freedom of speech and expression and do not have the authority to interfere with broadcasts and publications, in the management of broadcasters/publishers and in the distribution of newspapers,” the Supreme Court said.