The Islamabad and Lahore high courts Tuesday restricted the government from ‘unnecessarily’ harassing and arresting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers and leaders. The directives by the courts came just hours after the police cracked down on the former ruling party and raided the houses of party leaders allegedly forcing them to go into hiding. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued notices to the quarters concerned to stop the “unnecessary harassment and arrests” of PTI workers and leaders. Chief Justice Athar Minallah was hearing the petition against the recent arrests of PTI workers and closure of routes amidst the party’s much-hyped long march to the federal capital on May 25. The PTI’s counsel prayed that peaceful protest was the party’s constitutional right but a crackdown was underway on its workers across the country. He requested the court to bar the government from arresting party workers. To this, the CJ remarked that the high court had in the past issued verdicts regarding rallies in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 2014 sit-in. “The sit-in was held in 2014 with the permission of the government, which is why the order was issued. Some time ago, the National Assembly members were also harassed in the Parliament Lodges. The government should ensure that the constitutional right is allowed to be exercised peacefully,” the judge said, adding that peaceful protest was the PTI’s right. Justice Minallah further said that the parliament and PTV were attacked after the 2014 order whereas a senior police officer was also injured. “The state writ was challenged at that time. Could the court have taken responsibility for what happened after the 2014 sit-in? Whoever did it has not been caught so far, so the court has to be careful,” the judge added. The CJ asked the lawyer if he had filed a request for the upcoming rally to which the lawyer replied in the affirmative. The court then asked the PTI lawyer if he could provide an affidavit stating that no incident would take place during the sit-in and that the counsel would be responsible if an unfortunate incident occurs. “If you cannot provide an affidavit then how can the court issue a general order?” the judge asked. Subsequently, the IHC restricted the government from arresting PTI workers and issued notices to IG Islamabad and the commissioner in regard to the same. The court also directed the deputy commissioner and IG to not harass any PTI worker unnecessarily. Justice Aziz of the LHC lamented that both the government and the opposition are pushing the country towards destruction without thinking about the future of the nation. The PTI’s counsel advocate Azhar Siddique argued that the police officials are harassing PTI’s lawmakers including women and its workers who wanted to join the long march in Islamabad. Recalling the time of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) protest, he said: “I at that time had said the bails of the party workers should not be accepted.” “How some people could derail a sitting government,” he asked. Advocate Siddique highlighted that the party leaders, women and workers are being harassed and illegal raids are being conducted which is a sheer violation of the secrecy of houses. He asked the court to instruct police to produce detention orders or any arrest warrants at the time of a raid.