UN chief urges Pakistan to respect law in proceedings against PTI chief


UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the Pakistani authorities to respect due process and the rule of law in proceedings against former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

“The secretary-general takes note of the ongoing protests that have erupted following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, and he calls for all parties to refrain from violence,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for Guterres.

“He (Guterres) stresses the need to respect the right to peaceful assembly,” Haq told a daily press conference. “The secretary general urges the authorities to respect due process and the rule of law in proceedings brought against the former prime minister.”

Imran, the chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party, was arrested from Lahore’s Zaman Park residence on Saturday after a court found him guilty of selling state gifts illegally and sentenced him to three years in prison.

Imran’s conviction bars him from contesting the upcoming National Assembly election due within months. He and his party have called for peaceful protests but the response has been feeble and the expected mass demonstrations have not materialised so far unlike in May when he was arrested on corruption charges.

At that time, massive protests erupted in several places in Pakistan with death and injuries reported from clashes between his supporters and security forces. He was released soon after on the orders of the Supreme Court only to be rearrested after his conviction in a different case.

The multi-millionaire former cricket star was transferred to a prison in Attock, 80 kilometres from the capital Islamabad, where his party says he is treated as a common “C-Class” prisoner with few amenities in a cramped cell.

Khan was Prime Minister from 2018 to 2022 when he was ousted by a non-confidence motion and was succeeded by Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, who heads the Pakistan Democracy Movement coalition.__Pakistan Today