Former prime minister Imran Khan has urged Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa to issue directives to the federal government and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to ensure that all parties, including the PTI, and their leaders and members were allowed coverage without any restriction or discrimination.
“This denial of fundamental rights does not assume the colour of lawful due process only because the power to arrest and prosecute available to the state is the chosen weapon of assault,” the incarcerated former PM said in a letter to the CJP.
The development comes a day after Khan decided to not take part in the intra-party polls, ending the confusion within the party over the new chairman. Barrister Gohar Khan, who is part of the PTI chairman’s legal team, has succeeded Khan as the new chairman.
The decision was taken against the backdrop of legal complications for the former prime minister.
He urged the top court to safeguard his party’s “right to liberty, to associate, assemble and speak” as guaranteed under the Constitution.
The PTI chairman alleged that the power to prosecute and arrest was being used in a blatant attempt to engineer and skew the political landscape of the country.
Earlier this month, President Arif Alvi raised PTI’s concerns about alleged political victimisation of caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar. But the interim setup and the polls overseer criticised Alvi and advised that the latter was giving such an impression that people would see him as the spokesperson of a party.
Khan claimed that anyone PTI supporters were being targeted through multiple criminal cases to keep them imprisoned.
“Often several first information reports (FIRs) are registered against persons affiliated with the PTI in respect to the same event,” the letter said, “the same persons are also implicated in successive FIRs […] across the country.”
He went on to add that undisclosed FIRs and police reports were kept “in reserve” to re-arrest any bailed-out person affiliated with PTI.
“This is a situation that demands judicial notice […],” it said, “it would however be abdication of judicial responsibility to deny the facts and to assume that we are living through normal times.”
He called for the apex court to issue orders for halting the “practice of successive arrests of persons granted bail in known cases” and to set up a commission to probe the disappearances of journalists and political workers.