Pakistan News

Govt angry over ‘special treatment’ given to ex-PM

LAHORE: Top PML-N leadership and its allies on Saturday expressed anger over what they call ‘special treatment’ given to Imran Khan by courts and they appear to be jittery over their failure in finding success in their strategy towards their arch rival.

PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz remained busy throughout the day on social media responding to developments taking place during the police raid at Mr Khan’s Zaman Park residence and his appearance before a court in Islamabad.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is also president of PML-N, took on Mr Khan and his party’s “defiance to law”.

A good number of PML-N cabinet members held pressers to justify the police action against Mr Khan and chided his party’s “hooliganism” at the Islamabad judicial complex.

Shehbaz says PTI operates like India’s RSS; interior minister hints at initiating process to ban party

PM Shehbaz appeared to agree with niece Maryam Nawaz’s assertion that PTI is a “militant organisation”.

“If anyone had any doubt, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Niazi’s antics of the last few days laid bare his fascist and militant tendencies. From using people as human shields to throwing petrol bombs at police to leading ‘jathas’ to intimidate judiciary, he (Imran) has taken a leaf out of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) book,” PM Shehbaz said in a tweet.

RSS is a Hindu nationalist paramilitary volunteer organisation based in India.

Maryam Nawaz said Imran Khan was afraid of going to jail. “I wonder if he calls himself a politician. Politicians are not afraid of going to jail and accountability. Only thieves and terrorists do. Fear of arrest shows cases against him (Imran) are genuine,” she said and taunted the court on marking the attendance of Mr Khan in the Toshakhana case without his appearance before it. “He is a coward as he left the court without marking his attendance”.

Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar told a presser that in his 30-year professional career as lawyer he had never witnessed a court seeking signature (from a suspect) in a vehicle to mark his attendance like in the case of Imran Khan. “Don’t make a joke of your judicial system,” Mr Tarar said.

Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also took on the judiciary for giving a “bundle package of bail” to Mr Khan.

“Those terrorists who attacked police, the judicial system and the state got a bundle package of bail. This gives a message that he (Khan) is above the Constitution and law,” she said.

Ms Aurangzeb said that followers of Imran Khan had not thrown petrol bombs on police and rangers alone, but they did so on the court orders as well. All state institutions are responsible for maintaining writ of the government, she asserted.

Federal Minister for Climate Change of PPP Sherry Rehman said: “Today again law and court’s sanctity were trampled. He is trying to influence the court by bringing the people there. The court must take notice of it, otherwise, other political parties will follow suit,” she cautioned.

Faisal Karim Kundi, another federal cabinet member of PPP, said Mr Khan brought a jatha (a group of people) along with him to the court only to save himself from indictment in the Toshakhana case.

Consultation with legal team to ban PTI

A day after Maryam Nawaz asked the federal ruling coalition to initiate a process for banning the PTI after its workers attacked the police during an operation to arrest Mr Khan, Interior Minister Rana Sanuallah said the government would consult its legal team to assess whether a process could be initiated to declare the PTI proscribed.

“Terrorists were hiding in Zaman Park. Weapons, petrol bombs, etc have been recovered from the residence of Imran Khan which is enough evidence to file a reference against the PTI for being a militant organisation,” Mr Sanaullah told a presser here.

Regarding the government’s plan to initiate the process to declare the PTI proscribed, the minister said: “Primarily it is a judicial process to declare any party proscribed. However, we will consult our legal team in this regard.”

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2023

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