Pakistan: HC Permits Party Leaders of Imran Khan to Meet Him in Jail During Election

The leaders and attorneys of Imran Khan’s party in Pakistan were given permission by the Islamabad High Court on Friday to meet with him at Adiala Jail and discuss election strategy ahead of the polls on February 8.

The order was issued by Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb in response to a petition filed by Khan asking for authorization to meet in order to strategize ahead of the elections with members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, including Asad Qaiser, Junaid Akbar Khan, senators Aurangzeb Khan and Dost Mohammad Khan, and Ishtiaq Meherban.

In his plea, the 71-year-old politician and former cricket player asked the court to direct the superintendent of Adiala Jail to protect Khan’s privacy while he confers with his legal team.

Attorney-General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan, attorneys from Khan’s party, and the superintendent of Adiala Jail appeared in the IHC on Friday during the hearing.

PTI attorney Shoaib Shaheen stated that while the AGP expressed concerns about the plea’s maintainability, the party needed to have talks before allocating 700 tickets.

Judge Aurangzeb questioned Awan, expressing dissatisfaction with his arguments, “Is the additional note from the Supreme Court insufficient for you? Would you like me to also write you a note?

He made these comments in reference to the additional note that Justice Athar Minallah had made in the cipher case involving Khan and the former foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The alleged improper handling of a diplomatic document that the Pakistani embassy sent in March of last year is the subject of the cipher case. On August 15, the Federal Investigation Agency filed a case alleging that the accused had attempted to use the cable for political gain in violation of the nation’s secret laws.

The Supreme Court granted bail to Khan and Qureshi in the cipher case.

In his ruling, the Supreme Court judge emphasized that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the government had a duty to guarantee that the people could express their will through a “genuine election.” They also had a duty to make sure that no political party was perceived as being oppressed or repressed while others were treated favorably.

Justice Aurangzeb brought up these comments and stated that the AGP and Advocate General ought to be unbiased since they were speaking on behalf of the interim administration.

“The interim government is running a terrible system where even consultation on elections is prohibited,” he said, inquiring as to whether the caretakers intended to “derail the polls.”

Following that, the court permitted PTI attorneys, among them Chairman Gohar Khan, to confer with Khan while he was incarcerated. The court also mandated that Gohar and the former premier have a meeting, with the jail superintendent presiding over the proceedings.

Judge Aurangzeb stated, “Permission for consultations on polls is a fundamental right,” emphasizing that the interim administration ought to be “neutral” in the election process.

The judge dismissed the petition, adding, “Opposing meetings between the PTI chairman & Imran (Khan) raises questions on the neutrality of the interim set-up.”

The caregivers “are actually chair takers & everyone can see on whose orders they are functioning,” a PTI lawyer told reporters in an interview.

The fact that Imran Khan and the country are in agreement bothers them all. He declared, “The people are standing with Imran Khan today, and the elite political parties and ECP are seeing their downfall.”

In April 2022, Khan was removed from office by a vote of no confidence. Over 150 cases have been filed against him since he was removed from office.

Election-related activities have started inside the camps of the major political parties with the release of the poll schedule. The deadline for submitting nomination papers expired on Sunday, marking the official start of the election campaign. From December 25 to December 30, the nomination papers will be reviewed by the returning officers.

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