The fiasco that played out in Faizabad was certainly not a shining moment in our history. A fringe religious hardline group playing havoc in the national capital speaks volumes about the fractured nature of our politics – it should never have been allowed to go on for as long as it did. Yet for weeks the main artery of the twin cities was held under siege, and the methods to handle it – from each department of the government – left much to be desired. The Supreme Court’s judgment in the sou motu notice of the incident echoed much of the same. It painted a picture of shirked duties and incorrect decisions by the government - it is no surprise that after all this time that the parties named in the verdict are seeking to dissociate themselves completely from the verdict.

However, all the petitioners who are exercising their legal right to have the judgment reviewed must be mindful that they do not put those words into the mouth of the court which it did not utter, nor did it intend to utter.

The Defence Ministry is certainly correct when it says that the “armed forces can survive a lack of supplies, failures of strategy and reverses… but cannot survive is a loss of morale”, however nothing in the judgment can be taken as a as a criticism of any of the brave soldiers in the military, nor would the apex court of Pakistan ever intend such a thing. Rather the contention made by the court is that departments such as the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), and the Election Commission of Pak­istan (ECP) should not be timid, should exert themselves fully, and take greater proactive actions against groups like Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

The concerned passages from the judgment are quite clear, as are the events of the court proceedings. The state and its departments were asked to do more to counter the threat, keep an active check on the activities of such illicit groups, and – in the case of the ECP – apply the law to the letter by not letting them contest in the polls.

This misreading and misinterpretation of the Faizabad judgment must not be allowed to flourish. Perhaps writing it in the review petition was not the best way of making sure this misinterpretation doesn’t find a larger audience. The petitions pit the institutions against each other when in reality no such clash exists.