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Wednesday May 22, 2024

In a letter to CJP, Imran Khan calls for inquiry into ‘assassination attempts’ against him

Our lawyers were not allowed inside complex but about 20 or more "unknown people" were allowed inside, says PTI chief

By Web Desk
March 20, 2023
CJP Bandial (left) and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — SC/AFP/File
CJP Bandial (left) and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — SC/AFP/File

Citing the "illegal" raid on his Lahore residence, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday urged Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to launch a comprehensive inquiry into "assassination attempts" that continuously threatened his life.

The PTI chief, in his March 20 letter to the apex court judge, alleged that the "illegal" raid by the group of police on Zaman Park — while he was at the Islamabad Judicial Complex for his court hearing in the Toshakhana case — was evidence that his life was under threat.

Imran Khan, in his letter, also said that he had been consistently requesting for video link facility from courts for multiple court appearances because his "life is at risk".

“With no security provided to me and with one assassination plot already attempted against my life in Wazirabad, I have been placing my life at risk every time I have to make a court appearance,” he added.

On November 3 last year, the ousted premier — who was removed from power through a parliamentary vote — survived a life attempt during a rally in Wazirabad, Punjab.

The PTI chief further said that the events on his Saturday appearance at the Islamabad Judicial Complex lent credence to his assertions that his life was indeed at risk.

The former prime minister also wrote: “When we arrived in Islamabad and were moving towards the judicial complex, we were trapped on all sides by containers to block my arrival at the complex and before the magistrate to deliberately try and create a false situation of "no show".

“To provoke the mass of people gathered in support, the police and Rangers resorted to tear gas and baton charge against ordinary unarmed citizens and the PTI leadership accompanying me. What was worse was the police stationed on the roof of the complex started hurling stones into the crowds (videos are all available).

“When I was halfway through the gate of the complex the police attacked the workers around my car without any provocation.”

He said he realised something was “amiss” and that “it was not my arrest that was being planned but my assassination.”

The PTI chairman added that while PTI lawyers were not allowed inside the complex and “beaten back from the door”, about 20 or more unknown (Namaloom) people — who were neither wearing any uniforms nor had any identity displayed — were allowed inside. “This was clearly done to allow them to assassinate me.”

Coming down hard on the provincial authorities, Khan said: “While I was facing all this in Islamabad, my house was assaulted in Zaman Park by the Punjab police in complete violation of the orders passed by the Honourable Lahore High Court.”

Stating that his wife — a “very private, non-political” person — was alone in the house at that time with a couple of domestic staff, the former premier said: “The breaking of my gate and illegal entry by a group of armed police was also a clear violation of the Islamic principle of sanctity of chadar and chardiwari."

He concluded his letter with the request of a “proper investigation” be conducted into these events.

What is the Toshakhana case?

Under the rules governing "Toshakhana" — a Persian word meaning "treasure house" — government officials can keep gifts if they have a low worth, while they must pay a dramatically reduced fee to the government for extravagant items.

The Toshakhana is under the microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that Imran Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.

In October last year, the former prime minister was barred from holding public office after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) found him guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries and heads of state.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs140 million ($635,000).

The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan's aides sold them in Dubai.

The gifts included seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a "Master Graff limited edition" valued at Rs85 million (approximately $385,000).

The election commission's order had said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

Following the order, the election watchdog moved the Islamabad sessions court and sought criminal proceedings against him — and the PTI chief has missed several hearings.