Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, currently in prison has written to the country's Chief Justice (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa urging him to protect the fundamental rights of his party the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan-based Dawn reported.
In a seven-page letter, Khan requested the Supreme Court to protect his party's "right to liberty, to associate, assemble and speak", as per the Constitution, according to Dawn report.
His letter to the apex court's top judge comes as PTI has alleged that it is being stopped from conducting political activities ahead of the general election and several of its leaders are currently in prison after the protests that took place in Pakistan on May 9.
PTI chairman in the letter wrote, "This denial of fundamental rights does not assume the colour of lawful due process only because the power to arrest and prosecute available to the state is the chosen weapon of assault," Dawn reported.
Imran Khan stressed that the power to prosecute and arrest was being used in a blatant attempt to "engineer and skew the political landscape of the country." He said anyone related to PTI was being targeted through multiple criminal cases to keep them in prison and added that new cases were being registered against PTI leaders after the court granted them bail.
"Often several first information reports (FIRs) are registered against persons affiliated with the PTI in respect to the same event," the letter stated. Imran Khan in the letter wrote, "The same persons are also implicated in successive FIRs [...] across the country."
Imran Khan claimed that undisclosed FIR and police reports were kept "in reserve" to re-arrest bailed out people associated with his party. He emphasised that judges could not turn a blind eye to the reality "even though justice may be blind," Dawn reported.
PTI chairman in the letter wrote, "This is a situation that demands judicial notice [...]." The letter reads, "It would however be abdication of judicial responsibility to deny the facts and to assume that we are living through normal times."
He said that apex court could not be unaware regarding the disappearances of individuals associated with PTI or its 2018 government. Imran Khan underscored that there was "no possibility" of fair and general elections on February 8 if the apex court did not intervene to stop the arrests and abductions of PTI leaders and workers.
Imran Khan in the letter wrote, "The fact the political landscape is being set up through coercion [...] to favour one set of political actors that have the blessings of the powers that be against the PTI [...] is breeding disgust in a large number of Pakistanis, not restricted to the supporters of PTI," the report said.
He said print and electronic media were being pressurised to share "tutored content and opinions." He emphasised that the targets and the beneficiaries of this coercion have changed from time to time. However, he added that "the ability of the powers to be coerce and overwhelm the constitutional process has remained a menacing constant."
PTI chairman urged the apex court to issue orders for halting the "practice of successive arrests of persons granted bail in known cases" and called for establishing a commission to probe the disappearances of journalists and political workers.
He requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan to order the federal government, the provincial governments, and the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure that the PTI was permitted to conduct political meetings and gatherings without any discrimination. He also called on the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to allow coverage for PTI leaders without any discrimination.
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