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Friday, May 31, 2024  
22 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Ex-PM Khan accuses CJP Isa of inaction on ‘poor’ rule of law

Writes letter to CJP, raises issues of party supporters arrest, Bahawalnagar incident
A combination of file photos show former prime minister Imran Khan (L) and Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa (R). Photos via PTI/PTV News
A combination of file photos show former prime minister Imran Khan (L) and Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa (R). Photos via PTI/PTV News

Former prime minister Imran Khan accused Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa of inaction on issues of the poor rule of law and not upholding the supremacy of the Constitution that he mentioned in his letter to the latter on Saturday.

“Inaction on your part and that of the Supreme Court in the face of each of the aforementioned matters of grave importance would exacerbate the Constitutional crisis the country is already faced with and push it closer and closer to the abyss,” he said in a four-page letter to the CJP.

The incarcerated PTI leader highlighted seven matters, some of which he said formed the subject matter of already filed petitions in the apex court while others involve circumstances that call for prompt intervention at the judiciary’s motion. But he claimed that such cases have so far been in vain.

The official account of the former premier shared pictures of the letter in a social media post on X.

Last year, the incarcerated PTI chairman had also penned a letter to CJP Qazi Faez Esa, requesting the top judge to protect the party’s fundamental rights. In a seven-page letter on November 30, 2023, he had urged the apex court to safeguard his party’s “right to liberty, to associate, assemble and speak” as guaranteed under the Constitution.

In the recent letter, the former PM first mentioned a graft case against his rival Nawaz Sharif. Despite recording statements of 15 out of 25 witnesses, he said that the National Accountability Bureau prosecutors had proposed the accountability court to exonerate the PML-N supremo.

According to Khan, NAB has employed double standards and called for an inquiry into Chairman Nazir Ahmed Butt’s conduct.

Secondly, he mentioned the Bahawalnagar incident of alleged “face-off” between police and army personnel following the arrest of a serving army official. Khan claimed that the incident gave a message that there was a line the police could not cross in the performance of their duties. But he also mentioned the police crackdown on his supporters after the May 9 events.

“The lines drawn by our Constitution between the various pillars of the state are getting blurred into non-existence, and this has to be stopped before it is too late,” he said.

Khan spoke about the letter written by six out of the eight judges of Islamabad High Court, making allegations of interference by intelligence and the executive in judicial matters. He was of the view that the SC’s response to the judicial meddling claims was “meek and indecisive.”

The former premier called for assembling and putting in place a robust mechanism of enforcement and accountability that resurrects the judiciary’s independence. “And this calls for punishing those who have subverted the Constitution by unconstitutional means as aforesaid.”

While mentioning the trial of his supporters following his arrest on May 9 in a graft case, he alleged that the state was acting as a judge and executioner in such cases. The PTI chief mentioned that a petition calling for an independent investigation into the events was pending before the SC.

He further mentioned former Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha’s claims related to manipulating the results of the February 8 general elections under his watch. Khan added that petitions related to the conduct of general elections were also pending in the apex court.

“Upholding the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution calls for fixing and deciding all those petitions on a priority basis,” he said.

The incarcerated former PM mentioned the allocation of reserved seats in Parliament to political parties over and above the proportion represented by their general seats.

Khan reminded CJP Isa of his response while facing a reference in the Supreme Judicial Council and his speech to Parliament last year.

“As, what I believe to be the majority of our populace, faces the wrath of the state, now is the time for you to prove whether your declared belief in the principles and values, espoused by Pakistan’s founding fathers, and your proclamation of the supremacy of the Constitution, are for real or were mere hollow rhetoric.”

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