Home Latest News Imran Khan Seeks CJP Isa’s Intervention to Secure ‘Level-Playing Field’ for PTI

Imran Khan Seeks CJP Isa’s Intervention to Secure ‘Level-Playing Field’ for PTI

Incarcerated PTI chief alleges his party is facing discrimination ahead of upcoming polls and seeks directions for equal opportunities of canvassing

by Staff Report

File photo of PTI chief Imran Khan

Incarcerated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday urged Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa to take suo motu notice of the alleged “discrimination” his party is facing ahead of the upcoming general elections and ensure it is granted a “level playing field” for the electoral campaign.

In a letter, the former prime minister laments that the “power to prosecute and arrest” is being utilized by the state to “engineer and skew the political landscape” of the country, including by charging PTI leaders with multiple and successive criminal cases. “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,” states the letter, adding that several women arrested after the May 9 riots had been incarcerated for nearly six months.

These tactics, it claimed, were being used nationwide, particularly in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad. Referring to various orders issued by provincial high courts to prevent arrests and registration of cases in “undisclosed” FIRs, it claims “unfavorable observations of a bench of the apex court” had “disabled” their ability to “preserve the right to liberty and due process available to the people of Pakistan, inclusive of the supporters of the PTI.”

Stressing that this situation required judicial notice and immediate consideration by the apex court, it maintained that these were not “normal times” and treating each individual’s ordeal as a private matter ignored the “concerted scheme of successive arrests and prosecution” targeting the PTI.

Referring to “disappearances of individuals affiliated with the PTI,” it said they would eventually reappear and make “clearly tutored” press conferences, spreading fear in society. “Is this a phenomenon that the apex court can look away from in good conscience?” it questions, adding the letter should be treated as a “petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.”

Maintaining that there was no possibility of fair general elections without the Supreme Court’s intervention to stop the widespread arrests and abductions, Khan wrote that actions “favoring one set of political actors that have the blessing of the powers-that-be” against the PTI was breeding “disgust” among Pakistanis beyond PTI supporters. It also alleges that print and electronic media has been barred against featuring his images or videos.

“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” halting re-arrests of people granted bail; setting up a commission to investigate disappearances of journalists/political workers; directing authorities to ensure the PTI is allowed to organize political gatherings without discrimination; and ensure equal coverage for the PTI on electronic media.

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