Thursday June 01, 2023

PTI chief petitions SC to stop crackdown, mass departure of leaders

Imran Khan also challenges military deployment under Article 245; demands probe into May 9 mayhem

May 25, 2023
Former prime minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File
Former prime minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Amid a mass departure of leaders from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), its chief Imran Khan has filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court against the crackdown on party workers and deployment of military troops across the country except Sindh under Article 245 of the Constitution.

The petition was filed through advocate Hamid Khan in view of May 9 vandalism, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other ruling alliance leaders including Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman have been made respondents.

Referring to the deployment of army troops in aid of civil authorities, the PTI chief implored the court to declare the imposition of Article 245 invalid and barred the authorities from arresting party workers and leaders who are allegedly involved in ransacking state installations following Khan’s arrest on May 9.

The petition has also requested the apex court to stop the trial of civilians in military courts for allegedly attacking military installations across the country.

Khan also accused Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam of creating rifts between PTI and military by “propagating” that the latter wanted to appoint army chief of his choice.

Moreover, the petition also prayed the SC to take action against “forced separation” of PTI leaders as many leaders including Fawad Chaudhry, Shireen Mazari and others parted ways with Khan over May 9 riots.

It further asked the apex court to hold “impartial judicial inquiry into events leading up to the horrendous and gory events of May 9, 2023”.

On Monday, the PTI had filed a similar petition in the SC wherein it challenged the deployment of the armed forces under Article 245 alleging that it was being used to “political[ly] victimise” the Imran Khan-led party and trial of the civilians accused of May 9 arson under military courts a “clear violation of due process” and Pakistan’s commitment to international laws.

The petition was moved by PTI’s Additional Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan on behalf of the party and sought the top court’s intervention under Article 184(3).

On May 9, PTI Chairman Imran Khan was arrested from the Islamabad High Court, and following his arrest, protests broke out throughout the country with many military installations attacked as well — including the corps commander's house in Lahore and the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Following the violent protests, the military was called in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Islamabad and Balochistan to maintain the law and order situation.