Pakistan: PTI Calls For Televised Trial Of Workers In Civil Court


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Tuesday called for televised hearings in civil courts of the 102 party supporters who are due to be tried in military courts.

Addressing supporters via a streamed address, former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan said some statements and allegations made during the news conference by the military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), required a response.

He said that it was insinuated that his party had incited a rebellion against Pakistan’s armed forces through a concerted plan.

“The way it was said, it caused me a lot of pain,” the PTI chief expressed, adding when such things are said, it is crucial to offer a response.

The former prime minister continued that the press conference was the military’s view that the PTI sought rebellion and that he and his party also had a stance about what had happened.

“ISPR director general said that what happened on May 9 was the culmination of a long-winded conspiracy,” he said, asking whether the violent way he was arrested was also part of his conspiracy?

“Was it not done per a plan to inflame the sentiments of my supporters?” he asked, adding that their stance is that the public reaction was used as a pretext to launch a crackdown against the party.

“It is not possible that you arrest 10,000 people in just two days unless a plan is in place in advance.”

He added that now, every office bearer of PTI is arrested, thrown in jail and allegedly subjected to custodial torture. But if they denounce the PTI, all their sins are forgiven and released.

“ISPR’s stance is that a rebellion was mounted against the army. We say a conspiracy was hatched against the PTI to keep us out of the elections,” he said.

“The 170 cases against me are to either disqualify me or keep me locked up.”

On the military courts, he expressed that they were set up to sentence him to disqualify him from contesting elections.

“If these cases went to civilian courts, they would be dismissed forthwith because, in my view, they are bogus cases.”

He added that any statement from the establishment appears as if they have already decided that the PTI planned a rebellion.

“The question is, how can you now decide this in military courts? You can’t become the judge, jury and executioner; it won’t be justice then,” he said.

“A judge would have to sit and decide whose view is correct, mine or the establishment,” he said, addressing the establishment.

The PTI chief added that he has finally managed to accumulate evidence, and if he is given a fair chance, he can prove how a careful plan was made to eliminate PTI by causing anarchy and chaos on May 9 and what has happened since.

“With respect, these cases should be tried in civil courts, and there should be an open trial that should be televised because if it is rebellion against the state, then it is no trifling matter,” he said.

He said that both sides should put their evidence before the public.

The PTI chief further advised holding free and fair elections.

Conspiracy against PTI

“A conspiracy was hatched against us. My government was toppled,” he said, pointing to his government’s economic successes even though aid from the US had dried up and the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) caused global economic challenges.

“Our government was toppled, and we say it was through treason against the state.”

He then pointed to how the government reacted to their peaceful long-march to Islamabad on May 25, 2022.

“It was the first time in Pakistan’s history that days before the march, several of our workers were picked up and harassed by police,” he said, adding that three long-marches were held against his government. Still, they never lodged an FIR against them.

He added that they went on to win 30 of 37 by-polls even though the other parties had the support of the establishment’s entire government machinery. This episode, he said, culminated with an attack on him in Wazirabad in November 2022.

“I could not get an FIR registered for the attempt on my life; this was also a conspiracy (against me),” he said, adding that powerful people prevented him from lodging an FIR against three people he felt were responsible.

Then, he said, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by his party’s government in Punjab to probe the attack was sabotaged because it had found that there were three shooters, not one.

“This was also a conspiracy.”

He said this was followed by an ‘attack’ on his Lahore home that continued for 24 hours. Imran alleged his attempts to submit a surety bond was also rejected by the police because they wanted to abduct him.

The former premier claimed that another attempt was made to allegedly kill him on March 18. He further claimed that another assassination attempt against him — in the manner Murtaza Bhutto was executed — was hatched, but since he detailed the plan on television, it was scrapped.

“The real conspiracy was to stop a party, which was winning all the elections, by eliminating its leader,” he said, adding that he has been buried under a mountain of cases that affords him no time. Yet, he is accused of planning for months the incidents of May 9.

“Eliminating the biggest party in the country is akin to eliminating democracy, and eliminating democracy is eliminating freedom. Is this not a conspiracy against the state?”

Dubai meetings

The PTI also panned the Dubai meetings between the coalition government members, noting that decisions on Pakistan are being taken outside.

He also opened up on how information about the alleged corruption of these politicians was first divulged to him by the country’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and former National Accountability Bureau Chairman General Amjad.

“Around 20 years ago, I was given a briefing on where the politicians had amassed properties worth billions around the world,” he said.___The Friday Times