Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), filed a petition to the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday, pressing for a suo motu review of the supposed “covert martial law” in different regions of the country and the ongoing forceful suppression of his party.
Imran, represented by his attorney Hamid Khan, has asked the Supreme Court to investigate the government’s decision to enlist the help of the armed forces in the Federal Capital Territory, Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). This is assumed to be an exertion of powers under Article 245 of the Constitution.
The petition contends that the federal cabinet’s dictated implementation of these powers, despite the lack of objective conditions for such action, is a clear infringement of fundamental rights.
The PTI chief also implores the SC to assemble a commission led by an SC judge to delve into the circumstances surrounding his arrest on May 9 and the following incidents.
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Military courts are scheduled to hear cases against 16 ‘miscreants’ accused of assaulting military installations and defacing martyrs’ memorials following the former prime minister’s arrest.
Several inquiries were proposed to the apex court in the application regarding the nature of Imran’s arrest, which the SC had already deemed unlawful, as well as the application of the Army Act 1952 and Official Secrets Act 1923 to civilian offenders.
The petition also challenges the jurisdiction and intent of the trial of civilian saboteurs allegedly involved in attacks on the Corps Commander’s House and argues that prosecuting civilians in military courts equates to denying them the right to life, due process, a fair trial, and the dignity of man, as well as equal legal protection for the accused.
The application further asserts that the SC must judicially determine the “deliberate, malicious, defiant disregard” for court verdicts related to election provisions.
Imran Khan has also urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the “unlawful arrests” of party leaders and others accused of damaging state installations “without registering cases under the appropriate laws.”
The petition also decries the arrests and detentions of PTI party members, supporters, and workers under the Maintenance of Public Order provisions, arguing that “forcibly making members and officials quit the PTI party” is unconstitutional and against Article 17 of the Constitution.
Despite PTI’s victory in the initial round of its clash with the government, resulting in party chief Imran Khan’s release from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) custody with the support of the superior judiciary, the question now is who will emerge victorious in the second round of this conflict, as a significant crackdown on the party leadership and workers continues following Imran’s arrest on May 9.
As the political future of PTI hangs in the balance, the nation’s attention is again focused on the Supreme Court.”