Fundamental Right of Association in Pakistan
The article 16 of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan declare that it is the right of every citizen of Pakistan to assemble peacefully and without arms, subject to any restriction imposed by law in the interest of Public order but this fundamental right of assembly is lawful and not an offence until the aim of individuals being a member of assembly is bona fide, genuine, legal and lawful and if the aim of assembly becomes unlawful and also such assembly of citizens shall be armed with weapons and struggle for their unlawful motives than this association of people is called “Unlawful Assembly”.According to section 141 of Pakistan Penal Code:An assembly of 5 or more person is designated as unlawful assembly if the common object of persons composing that assembly is:-FIRST:- To overawe by criminal force or show of criminal force, the federal or any Provincial Government, or legislature, or any public servant in the exercise of the lawful power, or .SECOND:-To resist the execution of any law or of any legal process, orTHIRD:-To commit any mischief or criminal trespass or other offence, orFOURTH:- By means or criminal force or show of criminal force, to any person to take or obtain possession of any property or deprive any person of the enjoyment of right of way, or of the use of water or other incorporeal right or which he is in possession or enjoyment or to enforce any right or supposed right, orFIFTH:- By means of criminal force or show of criminal force, to compel any person to do what he is not legally bond to do, or to omit to do what he is legally entitled to do”Explanation:-An assembly which was not unlawful when assembled may subsequently become an unlawful assembly.It is provided in the explanation of Section 141 of PPC that lawful assembly is considered as unlawful assembly when the common object of assembly is unlawful and against the law. Moreover it is briefly described by Hon’ble Supreme Court in case cited in PLD 1963 SC 109 as:Under section 141 of PPC, an assembly may become unlawful at some stage after the time of assembly, but to establish such a development it is necessary to prove a circumstances applied to all the persons assembled which influenced them all in one direction, namely that of using criminal force or committing mischief, criminal trespass or other offences or of resisting the execution of law or legal process.Every person who being aware of the facts intentionally joins that assembly or continue in it is said to be a member of an unlawful assembly. It is briefly defined in 1994 SCMR 588 as:A person who intentionally joins any assembly and he was physically present there at a time when the assembly was declared unlawful than he is a member of unlawful assembly.The common object plays most important role in the declaration of assembly whether it is lawful assembly or unlawful assembly. The common object of assembly is considered as unlawful if these objectives of assembly are under the common objects which are described in the section 141 of PPC than the assembly is declare as unlawful assembly and if the common object is not related to objects defined in sec 141 than the assembly shall never declare as unlawful assembly.Every country has developed its own law for the offence of unlawful assembly and like Pakistan many other countries also declare that assembly of five or more persons which are assembled to commit any unlawful act is considered as unlawful assembly. Most of Asian countries like India, Bangladesh etc are following the same law which is prevailed in Pakistan against the offence of unlawful assembly but there are some exceptions where the number of persons are different which are assembled to commit an offence of unlawful assembly. In Canada, Hong Kong, England, Northern Ireland an assembly of three or more people are declared as unlawful if they are assembled for unlawful purpose.Punishments related to offence of Unlawful Assembly:- Pakistan Penal Code provides several punishments against the offence of unlawful assembly. These punishments shall imposed according to circumstances1. Sec 143 provides a person as a member of unlawful assembly shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extends to six month or with fine or both.2. Sec 144 provides a person being armed with deadly weapons serve as member of unlawful assembly shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extends to two years or with fine or with both.3. Sec 145 provides a person continuing in an unlawful assembly knowing that such assembly has commanded to disperse shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extends to two years or with fine or with both.4. Sec 151 provided a person who joins an unlawful assembly after it had commanded that assembly shall be dispersed such person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extends to six months or with fine or with both.5. Sec 152 provides a person who assault or threatens to assault such public servant who commanded an unlawful assembly to disperse, such person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extends to three years or with fine or with both.6. Sec 154 provides a person who show interest in a property or place where an unlawful assembly or riot take place such person shall be punished with fine not exceeding three thousand rupees.7. Sec 157 provides a person who knowingly provide harbor, shelter to any person who was hired by or work for an unlawful assembly in any house or premises under his occupation such person who provide harbor shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extends to six month or with fine or with both.8. Sec 158 provides a person hired or employed by an unlawful assembly shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extend to six month or with fine or with both.It is also stated that a person hired by unlawful assembly go armed with any deadly weapon such person be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extends to two years or with fine or with both. To conclude, it is stated that laws are made to establish discipline and harmony in the society. It is the duty of every individual to abide by laws and regulations of the country. The country where rule of law is followed than the country becomes peaceful and prosperous. The provisions of law related to offence of unlawful assembly and many other offences are designed to maintain peace and harmony in the society. Every law has its own effects and enforcement but this law seems to be more competent and fit against the offence of unlawful assembly. Thus it is the responsibility of Pakistani citizens to follow and abide these laws.