Shah Mehmood Qureshi addresses a press conference in Multan on April 4, 2023. — INP.

PTI to challenge ‘legality’ of Imran Khan’s arrest in SC today

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 Shah Mehmood Qureshi addresses a press conference in Multan on April 4, 2023. — INP.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi has announced that his party will challenge the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to term party chief Imran Khan’s arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) “legal” before the Supreme Court today (Wednesday).

Following Khan’s arrest on Tuesday inside the IHC, the PTI vice chairman summoned an emergency meeting of the seven-member committee to review the situation and devise a comprehensive strategy to secure the safe and early release of the party chair.

Qureshi interacted with the committee members Senators Saifullah Khan Nyazee, Azam Swati, Ijaz Chaudhry, Murad Saeed, Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, and Hassan Niazi.

According to the party’s Central Media Department, Qureshi said a meeting of the senior leadership and emergency committee was convened to review the situation from all angles and announce a comprehensive action plan. He said Khan’s arrest was completely unjustified and unacceptable.

Qureshi maintained that the demand for Khan’s release is a reasonable and legitimate demand. 

Moreover, terming the Al-Qadir Trust case a “dirty political case” and a “revenge plot,” the PTI vice chairman asserted: “We will fight it politically and legally.”

He further added that PTI will hold peaceful but vigorous protests across the country to ensure the release of its chairman as soon as possible.

He also took contention with the fact that the IHC was raided to arrest Khan despite the fact that the PTI chairman had offered voluntary arrest in his statement before appearing in court.

“Detention of Imran Khan is fascism and it is condemnable to attack the Islamabad High Court during biometrics and injure lawyers,” he remarked and made an appeal to the chief justice of IHC to issue an order for his immediate recovery and appearance in the court.

Qureshi said the entire nation was deeply concerned about the health and safety of Khan.

“There is a lot of anger in the entire nation against the abduction and torture of the PTI chairman and the party will register its strong protest without taking the law into its own hands. We will fight this battle through political and legal means for the safe recovery and release of the chairman,” he noted.

The PTI vice chairman made it clear that the schedule of the rallies released by Khan was intact.

“We are turning all these things into peaceful rallies. I appeal to all organisations to continue their preparations. All workers should remain peaceful and determined. We will win this war morally and politically,” he said.

He said people’s reaction to Khan’s arrest was natural as the arrest was unwarranted. Qureshi further added that Khan had — before leaving for Islamabad — said that he would voluntariliy surrender if there were warrants against him. 

“There was no reason for resorting to violence, breaking glasses, manhandling lawyers, and arresting PTI activists,” he said.

‘Arrest has raised serious questions’

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Tuesday condemned the arrest of the PTI chairman.

In a statement, President Abid S Zubairi and Secretary Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir said the arrest, which occurred on the court premises, had raised serious questions about respect for the fundamental rights and impartiality of NAB/law enforcement agencies.

They also condemned the assault and torture perpetrated by the law-enforcement agencies on the lawyers during the entire episode which violated the sanctity of the court.

The SCBA also said the arrest represented a clear infringement of the principles of democracy, freedom of expression, and the right to dissent. They also condemned the violence being perpetrated and asserted that it was a fundamental right to peaceful protest but no one should take the law into their hands.

They also urged the government and law-enforcement agencies to uphold the rule of law, adhere to the principles of democracy, and provide a fair and unbiased judicial process to the former prime minister and refrain from using state institutions as tools for political persecution and instead focus on fostering an environment of inclusivity and respect for human rights and law.

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