In an unusual move, Pakistan's judiciary on Monday intervened to defuse the current political standoff by directing the government to initiate dialogue with moderate cleric Tahir-ul Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan to maintain stability in the country.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday also summoned Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Qadri and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Khan to appear on Tuesday on a petition challenging their "revolution march" and "freedom march" respectively, to be held on August 14, Pakistan's Independence Day.
The three-member full bench headed by Justice Khalid Mahmood also summoned PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Pervaiz Elahi and Awami Muslim League president Sheikh Rashid in this regard.
Petitioner Muhammad Kamran has appealed to the court to pass an order restraining these leaders from holding long march saying, "They are going to destroy peace of the country and demolish the setup of democracy".
Justice Khalid Mahmood remarked, "The government should initiate dialogue process with the protesting parties to maintain stability in the country. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should visit Imran Khan even 10 times for the stability in the country. Banigala, the residence of Imran Khan, is not so far from the PM House".
The bench adjourned the hearing till tomorrow and directed the federal and provincial law officers to come up with details about steps taken by the government to end the political crisis with reconciliation.
Supreme Court advocate and political analyst Fawad Chaudhry told PTI that it was strange the judiciary had taken up this petition.
"This petition should have been dismissed at early stage but the LHC instead constituted a larger bench to hear it," he said, adding the court could not admit a political petition.
"How could the judiciary intervene in political matters," he wondered.
Both Qadri and Khan said they would not postpone their protest and their parties workers would reach Islamabad on August 14 at any cost.