A large group of workers from the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) gathered outside the Supreme Court building today to stage a sit-in protest against what they perceive as preferential treatment given by the judiciary to former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also the Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
The protesters, affiliated with the ruling alliance, set up a stage in front of the Supreme Court Judges Gate. Additionally, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) convoy, led by Divisional Vice President Rana Raffakat, left for Islamabad to join the protest.
Amidst the protests, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police urged the demonstrators to maintain peace due to the potential threat of terrorist activities.
The PDM workers, traveling in caravans and carrying their respective party flags, expressed their discontent through protest rallies. At certain locations, they raised slogans criticizing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and showing support for the Pakistan Army.
Reports suggest that the first convoy of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) from Rawalpindi reached Committee Chowk in the morning. The convoy, headed by Emir Punjab Atiqur Rehman, started their journey from Murree Road.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers gathered on Murree Road outside Allama Iqbal Park. Convoys of workers from other PDM parties also began arriving at Embassy Road. Protesters were allowed to walk towards the Supreme Court from Serena Chowk.
A significant police and Frontier Corps (FC) presence has been deployed outside the apex court, and Sharae Dastur has been temporarily closed to traffic.
Some JUI-F workers were witnessed climbing the gate and entering the Red Zone area.
Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, the head of the ruling coalition PDM and chief of JUI-F, called upon the entire nation to participate in the peaceful protest outside the Supreme Court.
While the PML-N and PPP have declared full participation in the protest, the Awami National Party (ANP) has opted not to join the sit-in.
Tensions between the ruling coalition and a section of the superior judiciary, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, have been escalating since February. The Supreme Court initiated suo motu proceedings in response to the delay in announcing election dates in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
The acrimony intensified when a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Bandial, declared the arrest of the PTI chairman inside the Islamabad High Court as illegal on May 11.