Defiant Imran galvanises supporters to 'wield vote as weapon' on Feb 8

Ex-premier denounces cases and convictions as 'frivolous, baseless, and politically motivated'


Our Correspondent February 02, 2024
Former premier Imran Khan at the IHC. PHOTO: PTI Peshawar

Incarcerated former premier Imran Khan denounced his back-to-back convictions as 'frivolous' on Friday and urged his party supporters to 'wield their votes as their weapons' on February 8.

Imran expressed his frustration over the ongoing legal battles, including the Toshakhana, Cypher, and Iddat cases, describing them as "frivolous, baseless, and politically motivated."

Imran emphasised that these cases aimed to undermine his credibility and demoralize voters. He pointed out the serious nature of the cypher case, warning about foreign interference in Pakistan's internal matters.

In a post on X, the ex-premier said, "When the cypher case emerged, I warned that unless we dealt with it decisively, no Prime Minister in the future would be able to withstand such blatant foreign interference in Pakistan’s internal matters." He claims that the manipulation of the legal process, denying him the right to cross-examine witnesses, was a tactic orchestrated to conceal a political betrayal comparable to that of Mir Jaffer of Bengal.

 

Despite being convicted in the Toshakhana case, Imran claimed financial integrity and asserted that the case was fabricated due to a lack of evidence of financial corruption against him. The former premier criticised the the unjust manner in which the trial unfolded, stating that his fundamental right to cross-examination was denied when the trial hinted at absolving him.

"Even during the sham trial, when they sensed that the trial would conclude in absolving me, they deprived me of my fundamental right to cross-examination," he maintained.

Imran said that the case accusing him of marrying Bushra Bibi, his third wife, in an un-Islamic manner was now being expedited. The PTI leader suggested that the motive behind this case was to discredit his vision of establishing Pakistan on the principles of Riasat-e Madinah.

He claimed the trial lacked fairness and aimed to declare him guilty hastily. Imran stated, "Meanwhile, the iddat case has been expedited only because they want to create a narrative against my dream of establishing Pakistan on the principles of Riasat-e Madinah. Therefore, they are concluding it in haste without an iota of fairness in the trial just to announce me guilty."

Read IHC disposes of plea to dismiss 'un-Islamic' marriage trial against Imran, Bushra

Despite the challenges, Imran urges Pakistanis to stay resilient, highlighting the importance of voting as a powerful tool to overthrow those "imposed" upon the nation. He assured the public that the Almighty is the ultimate planner, and encouraged them to not be disheartened by the ongoing political circus.

"Our most powerful and meaningful weapon is that of our vote, and we must wield it to overthrow crooks who have been imposed upon us."

Toshakhana case verdict

An accountability court judge on January 31, found Imran and his spouse, Bushra Bibi, guilty of misusing states’ gift repository and sentenced them to 14 years in prison.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs787 million each on the accused individuals in what is being described as the most swiftly concluded trial in accountability courts’ history.

Cypher case verdict

The special court established under the Official Secrets Act awarded on January 30, Imran and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi 10 years imprisonment in the high-profile cypher case.

The court, presided by Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain, announced the verdict during the hearing held within the premises of Rawalpindi's Adiala jail.

Before sentencing Imran, the judge asked the former premier one last time where the cypher was.

“I have mentioned in my statement that the Prime Minister House’s security was not my responsibility. I don’t have the cypher,” he stated.

The judge also provided the two PTI leaders with copies of the statement and the questionnaire under Section 342 and both accused were asked to record their replies in the questionnaire.

After Imran and Qureshi recorded their statements under Section 342, the court announced its verdict.

Iddat case hearing
Khawar Maneka, the former husband of Bushra, has made damning accusations against Imran during the ongoing hearing of the 'un-Islamic' nikkah case at Adiala jail.

In a heated courtroom exchange, Maneka claimed that the illicit relationship between Bushra and Khan started during the 2014 sit-in, accusing Khan of ruining his home. The incident unfolded before Judge Qudratullah, who presided over the proceedings.

Tensions ran high during the hearing, with Maneka, Khan and Bushra engaging in a quarrel. Despite the turmoil, Maneka managed to record his statement. Bushra's lawyer, Usman Riaz Gul, cross-examined Maneka, leading to further confrontations. Gul allegedly attempted to physically assault Maneka, threatening to throw him out of the courtroom.

Imran Khan, addressing the judge, expressed his willingness to take an oath on the Holy Quran, challenging Maneka to do the same. Imran insisted that he first saw Bushra Bibi on the day of their marriage and claimed that the accusations against him were false.

Maneka vehemently denied Imran's statement, accusing him of destroying his home and urging the latter to fear God. The court considered the possibility of both parties taking oaths on the Holy Quran, emphasising that after doing so, the right of cross-examination would cease.

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