Imran Khan Protests Political Victimization and Conviction During Supreme Court Hearing

Imran Khan, the incarcerated founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), voiced his grievances about the victimization he has faced since his removal from power in April 2022 during a Supreme Court hearing on the NAB amendments case. Speaking via video link from Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, where he has been held following his conviction in the Toshakhana case last year, Khan addressed a five-member bench led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and including Justices Aminuddin, Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Athar Minallah, and Hasan Azhar Rizvi.

Khan argued that an unofficial “martial law” had been imposed in the country, claiming his swift five-day conviction was a tactic to prevent him from participating in the general elections. Drawing parallels, he mentioned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s bail release before the Indian general elections, suggesting political bias in his own case.

Expressing his dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court’s decision to reject Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s request for live streaming of the case, Khan questioned the Chief Justice on perceived political point scoring. In response, Chief Justice Isa clarified that judges are not obligated to explain their verdicts and suggested Khan file a review petition if needed, urging him to focus on the matter at hand.

Khan lamented his 14-year sentence in the Toshakhana case, alleging the prosecution inflated the value of a watch he received as Prime Minister to Rs3 billion. He called for the Supreme Court to appoint a NAB chairman, criticizing the current appointment process involving a “third umpire.”

Justice Minallah addressed Khan, stating there was no justification to invalidate the NAB amendments and questioning the credibility of NAB following Khan’s harsh criticism of the body’s actions. Khan responded by highlighting his ongoing NAB inquiries and calling for reforms within the anti-corruption agency.

In a discussion about the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner, Khan suggested that restoring the amendment could benefit him in his NAB cases but warned it could bankrupt the country. Chief Justice Isa admonished Khan for his contradictory statements on accountability and tax amnesty, advising him to address these issues through parliamentary channels for the nation’s progress.

Justice Rizvi queried Khan on his opposition to NAB amendments in parliament, to which Khan replied that his government had been overthrown by a conspiracy, and he refrained from engaging with what he termed a “conspiratorial government” in parliament. Chief Justice Isa concluded by urging Khan to seek solutions within the parliamentary framework, emphasizing the need for the country to move forward.

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