PTI Chairman Imran Khan has hired British barrister Geoffrey Ronald Robertson to represent him in international courts in cases related to “unlawful detention and human rights abuses,” the party said on Saturday as it quote-retweeted a statement from the British law firm.
However, PTI’s official handle @PTIofficial deleted the quote-retweet when PMLN leader Attaullah Tarar and others claimed the move by Khan meant the party had moved international courts against the state of Pakistan.
Some social media users took screenshots of the tweet before it was deleted.
“PTI Chairman, Former Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI has appointed the eminent Human Rights Barrister Geoffrey Robertson KC of @DoughtyStreet Chambers to advise and represent him in international courts in relation to unlawful detention and human rights abuses,” the party account posted on X.
The statement was a slightly modified version of the tweet by law firm Doughty Street Chambers. The same tweet was retweeted by PTI leader Shahbaz Gill late Friday night.
Geoffrey Robertson “is a Founding Head of Doughty Street Chambers. He has had a distinguished career as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and author of leading textbooks. His books include Crimes Against Humanity and The Struggle for Global Justice,” the PTI said in a second tweet which was also deleted.
The original tweet from Doughty Street Chambers at around 9:21pm on Friday night according to Pakistan time. PTI’s US-based released Shahbaz Gill and others retweeted it and many PTI supporters welcomed the decision. However, it was only when the statement was endorsed by the official PTI handle that it caused a stir in the country.
PMLN leader Attaullah Tarar held a press conference and launched an attack against the PTI.
He recalled that Geoffrey Robertson had served Salman Rushdie in the past in a case involving his most controversial book, Satanic Verses. “Did you find only this lawyer in the whole world? Geoffrey Robertson says he sheltered Rushdie in his house. One gives shelter in the house to whom one is attached,” said Tarar.
He also questioned PTI’s motive behind the move. “Are you going to the International Court against this country and the state?”
Tarar also said Robertson had close link with Israeli and had penned down a book against Pakistan over the events of 1971.
Imran Khan’s party has faced a countrywide crackdown after the May 9 riots that saw protesters ransacking state and military installations.
Dozens of top and mid-tier leaders of the party have been arrested alongside hundreds of party workers since the May 9 protest. Several have quit the party after being released while other leaders have gone on the run to avoid arrest.
On August 5, Imran was jailed for three years and disqualified for five years in the Toshakhana criminal case. Khan’s sentence was later suspended by the Islamabad High Court, however, he could not walk free as a special court extended his judicial remand for two weeks in a case relating to the cypher.