Imran Khan must apologise for his controversial remarks | By Kanwar M Dilshad


Imran Khan must apologise for his controversial remarks 

CHAIRMAN PTI Imran Khan has been granted pre-arrest interim bail in the terrorism and violation of section 144 cases registered against him.

He was booked in a terrorism case for his controversial remarks about a female judge at a PTI rally in the capital on 20 August, while a separate first information report was registered against him on charges of violating section 144 ban on public gatherings exceeding four persons by holding the large rally.

The Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court granted pre-arrest interim bail to Imran Khan till 01 September in the case of intimidating a woman Additional District and Sessions Judge and senior police officials.

Earlier on 22 August, Islamabad High Court Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had granted him three-day protective bail, which expired on 25 August.

The judge, after initial hearing, granted interim bail to Imran Khan till 01 September against a surety bond of one lac.

Imran Khan wanted the court to extend the interim bail for a longer period since he is contesting by-elections on nine seats.

The judge, however, declined and issued a notice to police, adjourning further hearing till 08 September.

Its strange madness, appears to be afflicting our political leaders. Knives out, they are chasing after each other in the hope of landing a killing blow, not realising the damage they are doing to their own future prospects with the harmful precedents they are settling that others can easily exploit.

Considering the developments over the last week, the federal government has slapped case upon case on Imran Khan with charges ranging from treason to terrorism, making it clear there are no red lines when it comes to taking rivals down.

In Punjab, the PTI-PML (Q) government waits for PML-N leaders to set foot on their turf so they can arrest them on trumped up charges as revenge for Imran Khan ordeal in Islamabad.

It is clear that the government has committed a mistake by invoking the Anti-Terrorism Act against Imran Khan and provided his campaign with yet another boost.

The last thing the government needs while battling a crisis of legitimacy at home is the international community also turning against it.

It is about time the PML-N accepts that its strategy to suppress Imran Khan and his party has only made him a more formidable opponents.

Tactics from 1990s are clearly not serving the PML-N well in 2022. The times have changed, coercion and state sanctioned violence no longer have currency in a hyper connected citizenship aware of its fundamental rights.

Even now, it would serve the party well to step back from its self created mess and let the law take its course.

On the other side, the Supreme Court of Pakistan set aside objections to PTI pleas on voting rights.

A two-judge Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan and Justice Syed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi set aside the objections raised by the registrar office with an observation that the Pakistani expatriates should be extended facilities on a priority basis as they remit around $30 billion dollars to the country every year.

It’s humbly suggested that this huge amount should be conformed in writing from State Bank of Pakistan and in the next hearing the representative of State Bank should be called upon.

If our overseas brothers are sending 30 billion of dollars annually why Pakistani government is running after IMF and other Muslim countries?

Prima facie, the matter relating to the voting rights of the Overseas Pakistani falls within the category of public importance and basic fundamental rights, the court observed.

The Constitution treated them as citizens of Pakistan yet they had no say in the election arenas, the court noted, while recalling a number of decisions have been announced by the court to grant rights of vote to the overseas Pakistanis.

But on the flip side, the court would also need to consider whether in view of the tracheotomy of powers it could interference in the legislative domain or not.

Under section 94 sub-section-2, Overseas Pakistanis means a citizen of Pakistan under the Pakistanis Citizenship Act 1951 or holder of national identity card for Overseas Pakistanis under the National Database and Registration Authority Ordinance 2000 who is working or residing abroad permanently or temporary for not less than six months.

—The writer is former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan and currently Chairman National Democratic Foundation.


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