Some of those who heckled Justice Minallah had also heckled judge Humayun Dilawar at University of Hull

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters heckle Supreme Court (SC) Justice Athar Minallah at the London School of Economics in this still taken from a video. — X/ @MurtazaViews
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters heckle Supreme Court (SC) Justice Athar Minallah at the London School of Economics in this still taken from a video. — X/ @MurtazaViews
  • PTI official chapter condemns heckling of SC judge.
  • Incident took place at London School of Economics.
  • “PTI activists” followed SC judge and raised slogans.

LONDON: Supreme Court (SC) Justice Athar Minallah was heckled by a few Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activists in London on Saturday when he was leaving the campus of the London School of Economics (LSE) after addressing the “Future of Pakistan” conference organised by the Pakistani students.

Around a dozen PTI activists had arrived at the LSE after an appeal was made in a Whatsapp group for the activists to attend the event and ask questions of the judge. 

Some of those who heckled the judge are the same PTI activists who had chased Judge Humayun Dilawar at the University of Hull for convicting party founder, Imran Khan.

On Saturday evening, Justice Minallah spoke to students about the role of the constitution and the state of justice in Pakistan and also took questions. There was no disturbance inside the conference hall but the trouble started as Justice Minallah left the premises.

PTI activists approached the judge and tried to ask him questions about Pakistani politics. When the judge refused to speak, the activists started shouting slogans, demanding the release of former prime minister Khan. One activist came close to touching the judge and asked him why the judiciary was lower in ranking and why justice was not being dispensed.

Organises of the meeting escorted Justice Minallah to the car and rushed him inside the car in order for the judge to leave the road, right outside the London High Court. Footage showed students frantically trying to stop the car for the judge. Throughout, the PTI activists followed the judge and raised slogans.

The organisers appealed for calm to the PTI protestors who had attended the venue fully planned. Some of them have been regularly holding protests outside Avenfield flats, when Nawaz Sharif was in London, and now outside Pakistan High Commission.

During his address at the LSE, Justice Minallah emphasised the importance of civil supremacy and the protection of democracy, noting that the apex court’s involvement in supporting the derailment of democracy and the Constitution is untenable.

He said: “The absence of civil supremacy has created a persistent tension, and the Constitution has been subverted since the country has not been governed there under.”

He said: “Supreme Court was perceived to have been involved in political engineering prior to the 2018 general elections, which resulted in the formation of a weak civilian government that could not last more than three years. This period saw a particular type of constitutional crisis; governance was regarded as hybrid in character, with elected politicians and the army hierarchy working together, a fact subsequently publicly confirmed by the then-prime minister”.

The judge further stated that political leaders only speak out in favour of restoring civil supremacy when they are not in power; however, when they are in office, they deliberately enable the Constitution to be violated with impunity by sacrificing civilian supremacy.

The PTI’s UK chapter issued a condemnation of the incident, saying that those involved did not represent the party.

“PTI UK strongly condemns the treatment meted out towards honourable Justice Athar Minallah. Those individuals who did it do not represent the PTI, nor does PTI UK endorse any such behaviour,” the party’s UK chapter Jahanzaib Khan said.

He said: “It has come to our attention that there are some notorious individuals who are often referred to as PTI supporters by certain journalists sympathetic to the N league in London. These journalists deliberately orchestrate situations involving these individuals to create commotion whenever any government official from Pakistan visits London.

“They do this in order to capture videos and blame PTI, further spreading their negative narrative against the PTI. It is important to note that protests conducted by overseas Pakistanis and genuine PTI supporters only occur under the official call of PTI UK and its regional bodies.”

One of the protestors said PTI’s official chapter had no right to speak on behalf of all PTI activists. He said: “We politely asked Justice Ather Minallah about the law and order situation in Pakistan and how the judiciary has let down Pakistanis. We seek justice and we have the right to raise our voice.”

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