PTI raises red flags on verdicts against Imran

Gohar says ex-premier not afforded right to fair trial; asks SC to constitute larger bench on letter

Our Correspondent March 27, 2024
PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan speaking at a press conference alongside PTI’s former chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan in Islamabad on February 28, 2024. SCREENGRAB


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders have cast a shadow of doubt over court rulings against their party founder, Imran Khan, in the wake of a shocking letter from six Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

PTI leaders seized upon the explosive letter, asserting that the recent court decisions against their incarcerated leader have been tainted by undue influence creeping into judicial affairs, and therefore lacked any legitimacy.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Khan, accompanied by General Secretary Omar Ayub and Information Secretary Raoof Hasan, highlighted the unprecedented nature of the letter, terming it as 'the first of its kind'.

Gohar emphasized the alleged pressure faced by the judges, suggesting external influences aimed at swaying arbitrary decisions, which he argued depleted judicial independence.

"The judges have run out of patience," he added.The PTI chief said the judges' letter cites the Tyrian White case, adding that the Toshakhana case is also an example.

He maintained that the undue influence impacted the judges of the sessions court, adding that six judges of the IHC also came under pressure.Gohar cited the alleged interference in judicial matters as the reason Imran was sentenced in three different cases within five days.

He criticized the previous coalition government, that took over the reins following Imran’s ouster in a no-confidence motion in April 2022, for allegedly fabricating 200 cases against the PTI founder.“The PTI founding chairman was not given the right to a fair trial in any of the cases.

In light of the letter the legality of the decisions against Imran is now lost. We request the Supreme Court to constitute a larger bench on this matter today,” the party chairman stated.PTI leader Omar Ayub endorsed Gohar's statement, characterizing the judges' letter as a severe indictment of the current judicial system.

Ayub pledged to raise the issue in both the National Assembly (NA) and Senate.

Read PTI plans nationwide campaign for Imran’s release

The letter

Six judges of the IHC - Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz—have penned a letter to the SJC led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, expressing concerns about the "interference" of intelligence agencies in the affairs of the courts.

"We, therefore, request that a judicial convention be called to consider the matter of interference of intelligence operatives with judicial functions and/or intimidation of judges in a manner that undermines the independence of the judiciary.”

The open letter, a copy of which has been sent to all SC judges, notes that such a convention might provide further information as to whether judges of other high courts have had experiences similar.

“Such institutional consultation might then assist the Supreme Court to consider how best to protect the independence of the judiciary, put in place a mechanism to affix liability for those who undermine such independence, and clarify for the benefit of individual judges the course of action they must take when they find themselves at the receiving end of interference and/or intimidation by members of the executive.”

The move comes just days after the recent ruling by the apex court, which deemed the removal of former IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as illegal, decreeing his status as that of a retired judge.


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