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Thursday, February 22, 2024  
11 Shaban 1445  

2018 elections were controversial but current situation unprecedented: Hamid Khan

Senior lawyer likens PTI's situation to PPP under Zia's rule

Senior Lawyer and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s founding member Hamid Khan said that there were unprecedented attempts to sideline his party from elections and any polls without it could not be considered fair.

Speaking to Asma Shirazi in Faisla Aap Ka hours after the Supreme Court decided to take a ereference against the hanging of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Hamid Khan said that it was upto the court to decide which cases it wanted to hear first, but there were multiple important cases infront of the court which were in need of attention.

He said that history had already given its verdict on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hanging and hearing the case again in today’s atmosphere was not important. He added that history had condemned the judges who had decided Bhutto’s case.

Khan added that the controversies pending infront of the SC today were linked to the country’s present situation.

The lawyer said that Pakistan was passing through an difficult time and the constitution’s dispensation did not exist right now. He said that the government’s functioning in the country right now are not as per the consitution since they had been in office for over 90 days.

He said that the ‘way forward’ is actually clear – free and fair elections must take place.

Khan said that when the dictator General Zia ul Haq was asked about elections, he had always replied that an assurance was needed that elections would ‘yield’ positive results.

He said that the current events in the country were making it clear that a decision had been made on who would be in government after the election and who would be kept out.

Khan said that while elections in 2018 had been undoubtedly controversial and PMLN had rightly complained about lack of level playing field, today there was no playing field at all for the PTI.

He said that PTI was the most popular party as per all the polls being conducted and elections conducted without them would simply not be fair.

When asked about PMLN’s opinion that its workers resisted pressures better than the PTI, Khan said that things had worsened to such an extent since May 9 that it had no parallel in the country’s history.

When pressed that the events of May 9 were also unprecedented, Khan said there was simply no way to tell if PTI was involved as there had been no inquiry into the incident. He added that the establishment’s version on May 9 was being run as the sole version of events.

He said that the way Imran Khan had been picked up on May 9 pointed that there was a plan behind May 9 and only a judicial inquiry could find the facts.

Intra-party election

Hamid Khan said that while not ideal, as there had been no grass roots involvement, PTI’s intra-party elections were still more elaborate than other parties.

He added that he does not believe that there was any genuineness in the challanges to the election and that ‘someone else’ was behind the petitions being filed in the ECP.

Khan said that Akbar S. Babar had been working for a long time to undermine the PTI. He also expressed surprise at the fact that the petition had been fixed immediately.

He said that by fixing every application against the PTI for hearing, the ECP seemed very partisan.

Hamid Khan said that he did not believe that elections would be delayed as results of petitions being filed as high courts did not have jurisdiction over matters decided by Supreme Court.

He said that the SC had decided the date of elections after taking input from all stakeholders and the date would likely be followed.

PTI’s future

Hamid Khan said that the PTI would have a good future even though it was going through difficult times at present. He likened the party’s predicament to PPP’s state from 1979 to 1988.

He said that no one would have issues if the elections were reasonably fair. However, if one party was sidelined completely it would raise questions about the polls.

On PTI’s plans to put lawyers into politics, Khan said that the legal fraternity had traditionally been a major part of politics as they were connected with people. However, people with money had been ushered into politics in the 1985 elections.

He confidently added that PTI has candidates in every single constituency.

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