As Pakistan heads into general elections 2024, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has called on Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa to ensure a level-playing field for his party ahead of the much-awaited polls — slated to take place on February 8 next year.
In a letter seeking equal opportunities for the former ruling party to lead its political campaign, the former prime minister — who remains incarcerated in Adiala jail — has raised several concerns regarding the "discrimination" the party is facing.
Khan urged the top judge to exercise the authority bestowed to him by the Constitution of Pakistan in directing the federal, and provincial governments and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure that PTI, like all other political parties, is allowed to hold political meetings and gatherings without "discrimination".
The deposed prime minister, who was removed from power via a no-trust motion in April last year, stated in the letter that the PTI leaders and activists were being targeted through the registration of multiple and successive criminal cases to keep them behind bars. He termed this a “tactic of abuse and oppression”, which he said is being used all over the country.
“Those bailed out by the courts in one or more cases are immediately booked in further case that purport to pertain to events several months in the past. Often several FIRs are registered against persons affiliated with the PTI with respect to the same event. The same persons are also implicated in successive FIRs with respect to different and unrelated events all across the country," the letter read.
The former premier, who is incarcerated in Adiala jail in cipher and corruption case, said that several women arrested in the light of the May 9 events have remained imprisoned for nearly six months.
The letter drew the CJP's attention towards the PTI's petitions that moved the provincial high courts against such arrests and registration of cases in “undisclosed” FIRs but “the unfavourable observations of a bench of the apex court” disabled the high courts from preserving the PTI leaders and activists’ right to liberty.
"However, the unfavourable observations of a bench of the apex court against the salutary safeguard provided by the respective high courts has disabled the high courts from acting to preserve the right to liberty and due process available to the people of Pakistan, inclusive of the supporters of the PTI. Following the observations of the apex court a fresh wave of state operation has swept across the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Islamabad capital territory."
“This is a situation that demands judicial notice and immediate consideration by the apex court”.
The letter also shed light on the disappearances of the individuals affiliated to the PTI or the past government led by the party, and their disassociation with the party later at some point.
“These persons have re-appeared and made press conferences that are clearly tutored”.
The PTI chief stated that there was no possibility of fair general elections without SC’s intervention to stop the widespread arrests and abductions.
He said that the actions "favouring one set of political actors" and against PTI were breeding disgust in people, including the PTI supporters.
“In view of the foregoing, it is respectfully prayed that the apex court of the country may kindly exercise the power available to it to ensure the enforcement of fundamental rights and to grant to the people of Pakistan justice by making, inter alia, the following orders:”
The letter then requested the apex court to put a halt to the arrests and registration of FIRs against the persons bailed out.
It also asked the court to set up a commission to investigate the abductions and disappearances of journalists and political workers, and direct the federal government and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to allow all political parties and their leaders to have media coverage without any discrimination.
PTI delegation met Achakzai late last month where they agreed to work together for Constitution’s supremacy
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