Erecting pushcart in front of Faisal Mosque lands street vendor in jail


ISLMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has dismissed objections raised by the Registrar’s Office against a bail plea of a street vendor, who has challenged his conviction by a CDA magistrate for erecting his pushcart outside the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.

According to Urdu News, IHC judge Justice Tariq Jahangiri heard the bail plea of street vendor Farman Ullah, who was arrested and later convicted by a magistrate of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for placing his ‘unlicenced’ pushcart in front of Faisal Mosque.

Barrister Umar Gillani, the counsel for the convict, told the court that the CDA had filed a case against his client based on incorrect assumptions and passed an extraordinary “speedy justice,” delivering a verdict within 24 hours and sending him to jail.

The court was told that the convict has five children and four of them were physically-challenged, who were present in the court.

Justice Tariq Jahangiri questioned whether placing the pushcart (in public place) without official permission was not a crime. The judge told the counsel, “If someone places a wheelbarrow in front of your house, will it not be wrong?”

Umar Gillani argued that even if it is a crime, the case could have been handled according to the law, and the punishment given accordingly.

“In this case, the CDA filed the case under the wrong provisions and imposed a penalty,” he said.

The counsel mentioned that placing a pushcart does not fall under encroachments. “The penalty for placing unauthorised wheelbarrow in Islamabad falls under Section 104 of the Local Government Act 2015, which seeks a fine of Rs400,” the counsel argued.

He told the court that his client was not allowed to have a lawyer in the CDA magistrate court and was coerced into confessing the crime.

The court, dismissing the objections raised by the Registrar’s Office, postponed the bail hearing for Monday.

On July 11, the street vendor was arrested and sentenced to three months in jail and fined Rs0.5 million by the CDA magistrate court.

According to court records, Farman Allah was arrested on July 12 and sent to jail.

The news of Farman Allah’s arrest and his imprisonment sparked strong public reaction on social media.

Several citizens expressed the view that adherence to the law was necessary but it should be across the board.

Ohers argued that filing a case of encroachment against the street vendor was the misuse of the law by the CDA officials.

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