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Gohar Ali Khan Replaces Imran Khan As PTI Chairman

PTI chief Imran Khan had nominated Gohar Khan to succeed him as he was unable to contest polls due to his disqualification in the Toshakhana case

 Lawyer Gohar Ali Khan was on Saturday was elected unopposed as the new chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after its intra-party elections were held earlier in the day.

PTI chief Imran Khan had nominated Gohar Khan to succeed him as he was unable to contest polls due to his disqualification in the Toshakhana case, The News reported.

Omar Ayub Khan was also chosen as the party’s central general secretary unopposed, party’s Chief Election Commissioner Niazullah Niazi said in Peshawar while announcing the results.

He shared that Ali Amin Gandapur and Yasmin Rashid have been chosen as the party’s provincial presidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, respectively.

The PTI intra-party elections were held in line with the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) orders to secure its election symbol “bat” for the general elections slated to take place in February next year, The News reported.

Speaking with journalists in Peshawar, Gohar Khan said he will take on the responsibilities of the chairman as Imran Khan’s representative.

“We will take the country forward but as long as I am here, I will (act as) Imran Khan’s representative who is in jail because of his principled struggle. PTI will not fight anyone,” he said.

He lamented that none of the political parties “faced this sort of elections” like the PTI did, adding that the court did not look into other parties’ receiving foreign funding.

The intra-party polls hold immense importance in the country’s current political climate as the party’s Chairman Imran Khan, for the first time since PTI’s inception, decided to hand over the chairmanship to Gohar Khan, who will be holding the party reigns until the Khan’s release from jail, The News reported.

Earlier this week, PTI member and senior lawyer Ali Zafar announced Gohar’s name as the party’s chair, adding that his position is temporary, as Khan would return as chairman once his disqualification in the wake of the Toshakhana case is overturned.

ALSO READ: SPECIAL: Role of the West in Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy

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Political Landscape in Disarray as Nawaz Prepares to Return

Pakistan is preparing to welcome self-exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on October 21. The PML-N supremo does not seem in any mood to abandon his long-standing demand for the ‘strict accountability’ of general and judges for their alleged involvement in a ‘conspiracy’ to oust him from power in 2017.   The Pakistan army has ruled the state directly for 33 years and exercised influence from behind the scenes during the remaining period.  It has shown resilience in recovering from periodic setbacks, including its crushing defeat in 1971, using strong-arm tactics and intimidation to enforce its will. ‘The very institution created to protect the polity is given sufficient power to become a threat to the polity.’ A special report by Dr Sakariya Kareem

In Pakistan, it is not history that repeats itself but the military establishment that repeats history. Historically, one of the key reasons why the military is politically involved in Pakistan is colonialism.  After partition in 1947, the Muslim League, which spearheaded the Pakistan movement, was too weak.  There was a large vacuum for the military to take politics into its own hands.  Hence the military has been involved in Pakistani politics since 1948. 

The Pakistan army has ruled the state directly for 33 years and exercised influence from behind the scenes during the remaining period.  It has shown resilience in recovering from periodic setbacks, including its crushing defeat in 1971, using strong-arm tactics and intimidation to enforce its will.  The continual infringement of the Constitution has left a watermark of what should have been a robust democratic culture.  Recurrent military regimes arrested the political process and have polluted political outfits that now, more often than not, collude with unelected elements to wrest power. 

The Pakistan military, as an institution, remains materially and economically strong and capable of exerting the kind of influence despite the criticism from both political and civilian institutions, civil society, academia and the media.  The military as an institution remains strong and the core reason for this is its material wealth.  And the fact that there is no challenge.  One of the key reasons why there have been coup like in 1999 or before or after that, is that some civilian actors tried to control power and that is what brought them into conflict with the military establishment, which resists these efforts by all means. 

For example, Nawaz Sharif, the three-time PM of Pakistan and the military establishment became rivals in the 1990s. The key reason was that the Nawaz Sharif government tried to impose taxes on the military’s industries and economic wealth.  This created a wedge between Nawaz Sharif and the military establishment and resultantly Nawaz Sharif’s government was overthrown by the same military establishment because of their growing differences.

A UNDP report of 2021 said that Pakistan’s various business elites, that include the military itself, received about USD 17.4 billion in subsidies and taxes concessions and exemptions from the state of Pakistan annually.

There was a period in Pakistan’s history where the opposition alliances had pitched a united front even against military dictators as witnessed against Field Marshal Ayub Khan in the late 1960s.  However, what has become increasingly apparent in Pakistan’s political scenario is the waning influence of the classical civil society to forge an opposition as against Ayub Khan. 

Rise and Fall of Imran Khan

For many years, the military establishment propped up Imran Khan as a fresh face in politics.  For them, a ‘corruption-free,’ honest and popular political leadership was necessary as an alternative for the two main parties taking turns in power.  Instead of direct military rule, a ‘hybrid regime’ was in the making for over two decades, which was accelerated by various political events, and materialised in 2018.  A political demagogue, Khan promised to build a new Pakistan through reform, better governance, and eliminating corruption.  This last pledge resonated with the urban middle class, particularly among bureaucratic and military families. 

During his tenure, Khan outsourced the political management of both his allies and adversaries to the military establishment, undermining the structure of his party. Hiding behind this veneer, the state used the pretext of ‘hybrid warfare’ and ‘fifth generation warfare’ to crush all criticism of them.  There was complete media censorship.  Suppression and abductions were commonplace.

Khan counts some landmark achievements during his almost four-year rule.  He introduced the Naya Pakistan Qaumi Sehat Card scheme, which provided Pakistani families with up to one million rupees (around $5400) in annual health care coverage. He successfully navigated the 2019 border crisis with India, which brought the rivals to the brink of war.  During Khan’s tenure, Pakistan also proposed a resolution against Islamophobia at the United Nations General Assembly, which was adopted in March.

But Imran Khan’s greatest strength – the military’s seemingly unconditional support – became his Achille’s heel.  As Pakistan’s economy tanked and its internal security worsened, Khan became a liability for the military.  His reluctance to appoint Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum as the new intelligence director and transfer out then-sitting director and Khan loyalist Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was the final straw.  Khan had hoped to keep Hameed on as spy chief and promote him to army chief at the end of Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure; this position crossed a red line for the military. 

But Khan’s showdown with Gen Bajwa proved costly. The military soon stepped back from supporting Khan, paving the way for the opposition’s no-confidence motion.  The military ruled Pakistan for three decades and has managed ‘chosen’ administrations.  A recent glimpse of that was the hybrid model of the PTI-led government, which failed resoundingly, as have similar experiments.

The current military regime under Gen Syed Asim Munir is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring Imran Khan’s removal from Pakistan’s political scene. 

The political crackdown on former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan by the establishments holds no surprise as the country’s democratic backsliding goes beyond that.  Imran Khan’s arrest on corruption charges triggered widespread protests across the country on May 9.  The Pakistani Army swiftly labelled May 9 as a ‘Black Day,’ emphasizing that Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf’s ‘lust for power’ achieved what its enemy had failed to do in 75 years.

Pakistan witnessed a disturbing trend of stifling dissent and suppressing voices critical of the government.  The abduction of senior journalist Sami Ibrahim, the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif, the disappearance of Imran Riaz Khan, and the attempted assassination and arrest of popular leader Imran Khan served as chilling reminders of the growing dangers faced by those who dare to speak out against the ruling powers.  These incidents not only raise concerns about the state of press freedom and human rights but also shed light on the tactics employed by those in power to silence opposition.

The biggest achievement of Imran Khan has been to call out the military for its machinations in Pakistan politics and infuse the spirit of ‘true democracy’ in the masses.  A recent survey conducted by a political party placed Imran Khan’s popularity at 60%. 

Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari, a close aide of Imran Khan said:  ‘How can you classify something as a transparent democracy when you are dismantling the largest national level party… and the most popular leader in the country is in prison? For Pakistan to become a free and democratic country, what needs to happen is free and fair elections.  The people have to pick their leaders and the government that comes in has to have the mandate of the masses.

The continuous erosion of democracy in Pakistan has largely been due to the machinations of the military, its political leaders and the gullible public.  However, the Western powers, who are the champions of democracy and freedom, also share some blame.  Pakistan has been bailed out repeatedly from various perils be it economy or terrorism, by the same Western powers.  A large Pakistan diaspora exists in Western countries, be it the US, the UK or other countries which repeatedly calls out for a functional democracy in their home country.  In spite of all these factors, the Western powers failed to assist Pakistan in achieving the desired democracy as envisioned by its creators.  Pakistan’s military played into the sentiments of radicalisation, internal and external threats, the Afghanistan card and various other factors to its own advantage thereby completely hoodwinking the West.

Joe Biden.

Biden’s Strategy

Is there anything the Biden administration can do to help alleviate the situation in the short term?

The Biden administration can stand in favour of democracy in Pakistan, the rule of law, and the supremacy of its constitution, all of which are under threat in this current crisis – and not with the United States’ usual and favoured partner in Pakistan, its military.  This means the US should explicitly speak up in favour of free, fair and on-time elections in Pakistan this year, and against violations of the rule of law and the country’s constitution. 

Throughout much of this history, Pakistan has been led by military dictators.  In return for helping the United States and the West pursue its objectives, the Pakistan military obtained sizable economic and military aid and political support.  However, the degree of Pakistan’s cooperation has been much less than claimed.

The Pakistani priorities reflect the specific institutional interests of the military and therefore cannot be fundamentally changed unless the army gradually cedes its political role to representative civilian leaders and limits itself to defending borders.In other words,the United States and other international actors vital to Pakistan’s future must stop taking the metaphorical bribe of partial Pakistani cooperation in fighting radicalisation, terrorism etc in return for propping up an unrepresentative, military government.

Conditionality of cooperation assistance applied by a large number of countries, not simply by the United States, should be applied to Pakistan’s leadership, in particular the military leadership, and should not affect the general population.

The first step towards this would be for the West to ensure that Pakistan’s old political guard under Nawaz Sharif as well as the publicly popular Imran Khan, be strengthened to pursue a legal course against their own corrupt Army Generals, who have involved themselves in political machinations and are responsible for the country’s plight.

Nawaz Returns

Nawaz Sharif is also due to return to Pakistan on October 21.  With days left before his arrival, the PML-N supremo does not seem in any mood to abandon his long-standing demand for the ‘strict accountability’ of general and judges – former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, ex-spymaster Faiz Hamid, and former chief justice Asif Khosa and Saqib Nisar – for their alleged involvement in a ‘conspiracy’ to oust him from power in 2017. 

The international community has all the right to be concerned.  Pakistan is a nuclear nation veering from its pluralistic, democratic course, its ethnic divisions, religious and political polarisation and deepening under the jackboot of shaky military rule, posing a threat to its neighbourhood as well as the capitals of its distance western allies whose hand-wringing and threat of sanctions has fooled no one, least of all Islamabad’s current powerbrokers. 

The West will be told any formulation that sees the military take the back seat in the political process has the potential for a prolonged civil war, if the current unrest, brutally suppressed by the authorities, turns into a full-blown rebellion under self-serving politicians.  After another failed attempt at political engineering, the military establishment must step back and allow the democratic process to evolve.

The political churning set off by the confrontational course adopted by the military against civil society will throw up forces that could sweep even the semblances of democracy that exist in Pakistan out of the window.  The US must be willing to take a chance that after the initial upheaval, Pakistan will find its democratic feet. Politicians must be allowed to have a say in a new caretaker administration and arrive at a representative, if untidy democracy.

Pakistan has long paid the price for the West’s myopic dependence on the military as the solution to all ills.  This time, the West must have the courage to allow Pakistanis to winnow the democratic chaff from the military weed.  Pakistan needs a new social contract that addresses injustice and inequalities. 

The starting point of this might well be instituting Constitutional amendments to bring the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) under civil leadership as is done in all democracies of the world.   

ALSO READ: Nawaz To Address Minar-e-Pakistan Rally, Permission Granted

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Bushra Bibi fears ‘poison’ plot against Imran Khan in Attock jail

In a letter written to the home secretary of Punjab province, Bushra Bibi said the court had directed authorities concerned to shift Imran Khan to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi has voiced concerns about her incarcerated husband’s security and safety, saying he “can be poisoned” in Attock jail.

In a letter written to the home secretary of Punjab province, Bushra Bibi said the court had directed authorities concerned to shift her husband to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, Geo News reported.

“My husband has been imprisoned in Attock jail without any justification. According to the law, my husband should be transferred to Adiala jail,” she added.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman was jailed earlier this month after the court sentenced him to three-year in prison in the Toshakhana case related to the sale of state gifts that he received as prime minister from foreign dignitaries during his 2018-22 tenure.

Consequently, he was also barred from politics for five years.

In the letter , the ousted premier’s wife demanded that the PTI chief be provided B-class facilities in the prison given his social and political status as he is an “Oxford graduate and former captain of the national cricket team”, Geo News reported.

Imran Khan and wife Bushra Bibi.

She went on to say that such facilities are not available in Attock jail which her husband is entitled to.

Bushra further said two assassination attempts were made on Khan’s life in the past and the accused involved had not been arrested yet.

“His (Khan) life is still in danger (and) there is a fear that my husband will be poisoned in Attock jail,” she stated in the letter, Geo News reported.

She said being a former Prime Minister of the country, her husband should be allowed to eat home-cooked food at the prison.

ALSO READ: Pakistan’s caretaker PM assures US of free, fair polls

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No respite for Imran as court rejects bail extension in 6 cases

The judge added that Imran Khan’s bail cannot be extended in light of the supreme court verdict….reports Asian Lite News

A district and sessions court in Islamabad has refused to extend the interim bail in six cases of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday, Geo news reported.

Judge Muhammad Sohail announced the verdict and said that it would be convenient if the former prime minister who was removed from power via a parliamentary vote last year, joined the investigation related to the cases.

The judge added that Imran Khan’s bail cannot be extended in light of the supreme court verdict.

The six cases were registered against the incarcerated PTI chief in Karachi Company, Ramna, Kohsar, Tarnool and Secretariat police stations of the federal capital.

The PTI chief arrest in a corruption case on May 9 this year triggered violent protests with the party supporters attacking defence and military installations in many parts of the country.

Hundreds of PTI workers and leaders were arrested for their alleged involvement in the riots while the authorities had accused the former premier of being the mastermind of the violent protests.

The ousted premier was put behind bars at Attock Jail earlier this month after a trial court in Islamabad sentenced him to three years in prison and imposed an Rs100,000 fine after he was found guilty of concealing proceeds of Toshakhana (state depository) gifts that he received from foreign dignitaries as the prime minister of the country from 2018 to 2022.

Subsequently, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified him for five years from holding public office following his conviction.

On Saturday, an Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan dismissed interim bails of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in seven cases on Thursday, reported The News International on Saturday.

The News International also reported that the seven cases also include the Lahore Corps commander’s house attack, for want of prosecution.

The report added that the Special Prosecutor, Farhad Ali Shah, argued before the court that there was no scope in the law to accept the exemption applications of the convicted accused. He implored the court to reject the interim bail of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman. On the other hand, Imran Khan’s counsel argued that his client was in jail and the court should summon him as he wanted to appear before the court.

As per The News International, the court responded that even when Khan was free, he did not comply with the court’s orders. Barrister Salman Safdar, who had been excused from attending the hearing, requested more time to argue his request for an exemption from attending.

The court refused to grant the PTI chairman an exemption from appearing and dismissed his bail application, reported The News International.

An accountability court in Islamabad on Thursday cancelled the interim bail of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in connection with the National Crime Agency (NCA) 190 million pounds scandal, ARY News reported on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a Pakistan district and sessions court on August 5, sentenced PTI Chairman Imran Khan to three years in prison in the Toshakhana case i.e. for illegally selling state gifts and he has been disqualified from politics for a period of five years, local media reported.

The PTI Chairman was arrested from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore soon after being convicted in the Toshakhana case. The court also imposed a fine of Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 100,000 on Imran Khan, Geo News reported.

Khan, who has expressed his disappointment over being in jail and said that he doesn’t want to stay there, Pakistan-based Geo News reported. While speaking to his lawyers in the Attock jail, Imran Khan said, “Take me out of here; I don’t want to remain in jail,” according to the officials. The PTI Chairman Imran Khan also stated that he remains holed up inside his prison cell in “distressing” conditions, as per the sources. (ANI)

ALSO READ: ‘US State Department encouraged removal Imran as Pak PM’

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Pak Army bites the bullet, docks Imran Khan

With the military fixated on marginalising Khan, it is expected that the army will buy more time to do so by delaying general elections, which otherwise are to held later this year, a report by Atul Aneja

In the arrest of ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case, the Pakistan army has broken a psychological barrier, opening a pathway for a new dispensation to take root in Islamabad.

The army, which had been seeking Khan’s arrest after the May 9 attacks that challenged the military’s authority would have been relieved to see that the ex-Prime Minister’s arrest on Saturday did not trigger a significant blowback from his supporters in the streets.  In fact, only 20-25 people were present at Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore at the time of his arrest.

The former Prime Minister’s docking has also not generated any significant pressure from abroad. The United States, which has no love lost for Khan after he publicly accused Washington for plotting his removal in a no-confidence motion last April, has looked the other way after Khan’s arrest on Saturday.

“Cases against Imran Khan and other politicians on Pakistan are an internal matter,” US State Department’s spokesperson was quoted as saying after the arrest.  “We call for the respect of democratic principles and the rule of law in Pakistan, as we do around the world,” he added, in a pointer that Khan’s detention was not on Washington’s political radar.

It is likely that Khan who has been lodged in Attock jail will be granted bail in the Toshakhana case, for which the ex-Prime Minister sentenced by a sessions court to 3 years’ imprisonment.

But the relief is expected to be short-lived. Recent precedents show that Khan is likely to re-arrested for breaking the law in other cases that have been piled up against him. These include the May 9 case, where Khan is being nailed for masterminding the attacks on military installations including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the corps commanders’ residence in Lahore. Khan can also be docked for the Al Qadir Trust case. Here, the PTI chief and his wife Bushra Bibi have been accused of getting billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from a real estate tycoon based in the UK in return for favours from the PTI government.


Khan’s legal woes do not end here. He is also confronting the cypher case, where he has been accused of publicly airing state secrets conveyed to him through a classified cable sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. The cable apparently revealed a conversation between the Pak ambassador to the US and David Lu, a US state department official, who apparently sought the exit of Khan’s government. The ex-Prime Minister’s government was toppled in a no-confidence motion shortly after the cable was received.

Prior to Khan’s arrest, others who have faced the arrest-bail-rearrest cycle include Pervez Elahi, former Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehryar Afridi, who served as Chairperson of the Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir as well as Yasmin Rashid– a Pakistani politician who served as the provincial minister of Punjab for Primary and Secondary Healthcare.

With the military fixated on marginalising Khan, it is expected that the army will buy more time to do so by delaying general elections, which otherwise are to held later this year.

Unsurprisingly, the government on Saturday ruled that elections would be held only after considering the Pakistan’s 2023 population census. This implies that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will now delimit electoral constituencies afresh—a time consuming exercise.

Consequently, it appears that the military establishment led by Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Asim Munir is in no mood to hold elections at least till March 2024. Pak insiders told India Narrative that it may not be surprising if the elections are postponed by 1-2 years.

To ensure that post-Imran hybrid model, where a powerful military will work together with an elected government as a junior partner, takes firm root, the army will ensure that a suitable caretaker prime minister is appointed, whose tenure could be lengthy as elections could be delayed. Earlier, the military has favoured the appointment of Mohsin Beg, a media personality close to Gen. Munir as the caretaker PM.

The military also needs extra time to see that charges against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are dropped to smoothen his return from exile from London, ahead of elections. Besides, the army also wants to see the back of pro-Imran Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial who retires in September.

The beginning of troubles

The ex-Prime Minister got into trouble over selling some of the expensive gifts that he had received from foreign government in his capacity as Prime Minister. Though top national leaders are allowed to buy foreign gifts from the state coffers, Khan had apparently purchased these gifts for himself at highly discounted value from the state treasury and sold them at market prices, thus personally pocketing a tidy profit.

Khan has been accused of selling an expensive Graff wristwatch worth at least Rs2 billion, to Dubai-based businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor. Khan was gifted the watch by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

According to Pakistani daily New International, Zahoor, the Norwegian-Pakistani millionaire, claims that he can prove that he bought the rare watch and three other Toshakhana gifts from Farhat Shahzadi — also known as Farah Gogi. Gogi, in turn is a close friend of Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi. Zahoor claims that he paid 7.5 million Dirhams in cash and the deal was facilitated by former federal minister Shahzad Akbar.

In an affidavit, Zahoor claims that the gifts included a Diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater with Makkah Map Dial GM2751, Diamond Cufflinks with 2.12ct H IF and 2.11ct I IF Round Diamonds GR46899, Diamond Gent’s Ring 7.20cts, VVSl Rose Gold Pen Set with Pave Diamonds and Enamel Mecca Map.

Khan has not denied his involvement in the Toshakhana affairs but has pinned the blame of any wrongdoing on his military secretary Brigadier Waseem Cheema.

Recording his statement in the Toshakhana case before the sessions court on Tuesday, Khan said that Brigadier Waseem Cheema was an important and relevant character in this whole episode. “I request the court to call him to record his statement in the case,” he said, pleading innocence in the case.

In his judgement today, ADSJ Humayun Dilawar announced the verdict, stating that the PTI chief has been found guilty of corrupt practices before reading out the sentence. Incidentally no representative of the PTI chairman appeared before him at the hearing, which was adjourned several times.

Khan and the PTI are expected to challenge the verdict in higher court, implying that the ex-Prime Minister’s disqualification based on the Toshakana case may not be final. In a recorded video message, Khan has said that he had anticipated his arrest.

It is important to note that there is a bigger context to the ruling. The military led by Army Chief Asim Munir and the coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif have gone after Khan after the May 9 attacks on military symbols and installations including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and Jinnah House, the corps commander’s residence. Khan is a prime suspect in conceiving the plot, an accusation that he hotly denies.

In the crackdown that followed, the PTI has splintered and many senior leaders have jumped ship. The establishment has got further emboldened after the Sharif government managed to secure the IMF deal which has saved the government from payment default. Sensing that the scales maybe slowly tilting in their favour the coalition leadership has been meeting in Dubai and at home, amid prospects of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s early return to Pakistan ahead of elections.

Imran Khan

Even though he may get some relief from the judgement in a higher court, Khan’s woes are only expected to multiply. The ex-Prime Minister’s appearance in a military court for his role in the May 9 riots cannot be ruled out.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Umar Ata Bandial, who has so far walled Khan’s arrest has been showing signs that he might not be entirely opposed to the ex-PM’s military trial.

Last month, a six-member bench of the apex court, headed by CJP Bandial heard petitions challenging the trial of civilians accused of the May 09 attacks, in the military courts under the Army Act 1952. His observations to the petitions were interesting.

During proceedings, the CJP asked the attorney general Mansoor Awan if the suspects of May 9 will be allowed the right to appeal in civilian court against their convictions, presumably by the military courts. “You will have to satisfy the court that after the trial of suspects in the May 9 incidents, the accused persons will have fair opportunity of right of appeal against their conviction and will be ensured fair trial,” he told the AG as quoted by Pakistani daily News International.

The via media suggested by the CJP Bandial who retires in September, and which the army is likely to endorse, opens the door for Khan being, at least initially, tried in a military court.

Khan can also face the music over the so-called Cypher case.

Khan’s former Principal secretary Azam Khan has revealed details of how the ex-Prime Minister illegally used the secret cable from the United States for his personal political gains.

In his confessional statement recorded last month before a magistrate under CrPC 164, asserted that the “cypher drama” was a premeditated conspiracy hatched by the ex-Prime Minister.

Ahead of his ouster in a no-confidence motion, Khan had alleged on March 27, 2022, during a rally of PTI workers that Washington had orchestrated the movement to remove him from office. To establish his point Khan had brandished the cypher that he had received in March from his ambassador in the US.

Khan later asserted that the cable had originated in the United States, and the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal. The cable followed a meeting between former Pak ambassador to the US Asad Majeed’s and Lu.

By mishandling the cypher issue, Khan could be charged under Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act 1923. If proved in the court of law, he can be imprisoned from two to 14 years, and would not  be necessarily immune to a death penalty.

(India Narrative)

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Imran Khan gets 3-year jail, arrested from Lahore

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested on Saturday from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore soon after being convicted in the Toshakhana case.

In a major development, a district and sessions court earlier on Saturday convicted the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman in the Toshakhana case, sentencing him to three years in prison, Geo News reported.

Rejecting Khan’s petition seeking inadmissibility of the case, Additional and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar sentenced the former premier to three-year imprisonment.

“Charges of misdeclaration of assets have been proven against PTI chairman,” Judge Dilawar mentioned in his judgment.

He then handed Khan three years in jail along with a fine of 100,000 PKR, while issuing his arrest warrant.

The former prime minister had challenged the Toshakhana case, related to the alleged misdeclaration of gifts he took from the state gifts repository, on several forums including the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court (IHC), Geo News reported.

The trial court had summoned Khan in his personal capacity on Saturday for a hearing in the Toshakhana case after the high court rejected his pleas challenging the maintainability order.

On Friday, the IHC also turned down Khan’s request to transfer the case to another court and directed Judge Dilawar to continue hearing the case.

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Uncertainty looms over Imran’s military trial

The military establishment has not yet named anyone including Imran Khan but indirectly hinted the same what the civil government vocally says.0..reports Asian Lite News

No decision has been taken yet on whether Pakistan’s former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan will be trialled under the Army Act or not, The News International reported.

Citing the sources, The News International reported that although some federal ministers had suggested that Imran Khan should be alleged as being the mastermind of the May 9 attacks in the military trial but still no decision has been taken in this regard. The civil side including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and several federal ministers have repeatedly said that Imran Khan was the key planner of the May 9 violence.

However, the military establishment has not yet named anyone including Imran Khan but indirectly hinted the same what the civil government vocally says.

FIRs are now being registered against Imran Khan in connection with May 9 attacks following the evidence collected by the police and on the basis of statements made by some of the already arrested arsonists.

In at least six FIRs, Imran Khan has been nominated. So far Imran Khan has been nominated in FIRs registered in different police stations of Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Mianwali. His name is expected to be included in more FIRs.

When asked if Imran Khan will be tried under the Army Act, the source said that no decision has been taken as yet on this issue.

According to the information provided by the federal government to the Supreme Court recently, a total of 102 civilians, arrested from various parts of the country in the wake of the May 9 violence, are with the military authorities for their trial under the Army Act.

None of these 102 suspects includes women or children. A media report, a few days back, suggested that no woman or any person under 18 will be tried under the Army Act.

The custody of all those, to be tried under the Army Act, is handed over to the Army. If a decision is taken to try Imran Khan under the Army Act, his custody will also be handed over to the military authorities.

Earlier, the PTI chief appeared before two Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) to record his statement on 12 cases registered under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA) and Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) on Monday, reported The News International.

Two JITs, headed by Senior Superintendent Of Police (SSP) Yasir Afridi and SP Rukhsar Mehdi, asked more than 25 questions to Imran while recording his statement.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his statement, said that he have no abhorrence of Pakistan and the national institutions. The PTI Chief further stated that he respects the Pakistan Army, the dead soldiers, and the Ghazis from the core of his heart.

“Sources disclosed that Imran had openly condemned the May 9 incident, however, Imran said, “The PTI workers or I have nothing to do with the May 9 occurrence.

“He further claimed it was a conspiracy against him and his party, according to The News International.

“I will never accept responsibility for the occurrence because the conspiracy has been hatched by the government and law enforcement agencies engaged in entrapping me and the party in legal clutches,” he said.

He repeatedly said, “I do not agree with the assertion that the PTI workers were involved in the May 9 episode because I have proof of conspiracy linked to the occurrence.”

“They are trying to eliminate me from politics but they can’t triumph in their design,” Imran concluded, reported The News International. (ANI)

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May 9 chaos: Imran booked in 6 more cases

The decision to include his name came in light of statements provided by the suspects under investigation and in consultation with legal experts…reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has been nominated in six cases, including the attacks on the General Headquarters (GHQ), military installations, and the incident of arson at Metro Station, in a major development in the probe of May 9 violence.

Sources said three of these cases had been registered on May 9 and the other three on May 10, under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), The News reported.

The joint investigation teams (JITs) are carrying out a probe into all the cases, they added.

Tensions simmer between Pak, Afghanistan over arrest of Afghans for May 9 violence

Sources further stated that the cases had been registered at Civil Lines in Faisalabad, Samanabad, RA Bazar, and New Town police stations in Rawalpindi, City Police Station in Mianwali and Police Station Cantt in Gujranwala, on behalf of their respective police officials.

The former Prime Minister had not been nominated in any of the 28 cases registered earlier in Rawalpindi.

The decision to include his name came in light of statements provided by the suspects under investigation and in consultation with legal experts, the sources added.

The cases pertaining to the attack on the GHQ and military installations were registered at RA Bazar and New Town police stations.

In an unprecedented show of vandalism, the violent protesters ransacked the gates of the Pakistan Army’s GHQ in Rawalpindi on May 9, The News reported.

PTI supporters had also attacked and damaged to Corps’ Commander’s House — originally known as Jinnah House that once served as the residence of Muhammad Ali Jinnah — hours after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested Khan on May 9.

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Social media profiles of Imran under scanner

A total of 23 links of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have been dispatched to the FIA…reports Asian Lite News

The social media profiles of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other prominent leaders in Pakistan have been shared with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for forensic test for allegedly sharing controversial content between March 8 and May 9, media reports said.

A total of 23 links of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have been dispatched to the FIA, according to the police, Samaa TV reported.

The police said the links shared are based on the videos and posts of Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Murad Saeed and Hammad Azhar.

A forensic test is being conducted on the videos and posts over allegedly anti-state statements contained in the shared links, Samaa TV reported.

The statements of the political leaders will also form part of the JIT’s final report on the May 9 violence cases, the police said.

They also said that prominent PTI personalities and social media handlers kept sharing allegedly offensive material.

The forensic reports of the links will be made part of the investigation report. The police have alleged that the youth were incited against the state through the use of social media, Samaa TV reported.

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Countdown to Imran’s arrest as military cleanses ranks

At least 16 army officers including two Major Generals (GOCs) of Lahore, and some brigadiers are already undergoing court martial proceedings, reports Atul Aneja

The military purge in Pakistan has gathered steam to root out supporters of ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan whose early arrest is now on the cards.

Authoritative sources told India Narrative that at least 16 army officers including two Major Generals (GOCs) of Lahore, and some brigadiers are already undergoing court martial proceedings.

As of now, there is silence on the fate of ex-Corps Commander Lahore, who is suspected of involvement in the ransacking of Jinnah House, the corps commanders’ residence in Lahore by insurrectionists on May 9.

There is considerable speculation that former Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Faiz Hameed, is believed to be under house arrest. Some sections in Pakistan consider Gen. Hameed as the mastermind of the mutiny.

As a result of the on-going purge, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Asim Munir has emerged strongest in the military establishment following to the May 9 incident.

Gen. Munir initiated the military purge soon after the failure of the rebellion marshalled by Khan and his vast network of supporters. It is learnt that the Pak Army Chief, furious at perpetrator of the May 9 mayhem, fully demonstrated his feelings during his visits to various corps and garrisons after the incident.

Pakistan’s former Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed (Photo Credit Twitter via ANI)

During these visits the Chief of Army Staff apparently exhorted the rank and file to behave professionally, and root out pro-PTI or any other kind of political inclination from their minds.

Gen. Munir’s line of thought was clear-no mercy would be shown towards those complicit in the May 9 attacks, irrespective of their elite status. Even families of retired and serving generals would be in the firing line.

The purge acquired institutional momentum after the four-day formation commanders conference that began on June 4. The press statement issued after the meeting further amplified the intent of the top military brass to root out Khan’s supporters in the military.

Regarding the ex-PM’s fate, India Narrative has learnt that after his arrest which is only a matter of time, Khan would be tried in a military court and is expected to be awarded long prison sentence.

Besides, at least 14 other leaders of Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), including Ijaz Chaudhry, Yasmin Rashid, Murad Saeed, Ali Amin Gandapur, Mehmoodul Rashid, Ali Nawaz Awan, Hassan Niazi, Alia Hamza, Kanwal Shozab, Khadija Shah, Aleema Khan, Sheharyar Afridi are also expected to be tried under the Army Act.

The moves would be in tune with the declaration by the formation commanders that “while the legal trials of perpetrators and instigators have commenced, it is time that noose of law is also tightened around the planners and masterminds who mounted the hate ripened and politically driven rebellion against the state and state institutions to achieve their nefarious design of creating chaos in the country”.

By trying the kingpins of the May 9 rebellion under the Army, Khan and his coterie would be unable to seek relief from the judiciary including the Supreme Court, who would have no role in trials in the military courts.

As reported by IN the military is miffed by the role of Pakistani judiciary especially the Supreme Court of Pakistan, including Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and the Lahore High court, which has shielded Khan and his top lieutenants.

On the political front, the much-touted tigers of the PTI are gathering as herd under the umbrella of Jehangir Khan Tareen (JKT)’s Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP). The IPP includes Khan’s one-time loyalists including Ali Zaidi, Imran Ismail, Fawad Chaudhry, Murad Raas, and Kayani among others.

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