Govt, few individuals
in establishment and
ECP against me and
my party: Imran Khan

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RAWALPINDI: Former prime minister Imran Khan has condemned imposing of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and said that the Punjab government has taken this discriminating step just to hamper the upcoming show of power by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s candidates. He was speaking to media persons after attending proceedings of £190 million, Toshakhana, and cipher cases.

He said Section 144 has been imposed after he had asked the PTI candidates to hold large-scale public meetings. He expressed apprehensions that the government would not allow PTI candidates to hold their show of power.

The former prime minister claimed that the PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif is behind the imposition of Section 144, as he has failed to bring out people in his public meetings. He said the PTI has devised a contingency plan and in case any candidate is arrested or barred from contesting elections, his replacement would do so.

Former prime minister Imran Khan
Former prime minister Imran Khan

Imran Khan said that the caretaker government, a few individuals in the establishment and the Election Commission of Pakistan are united against his party. He claimed that PTI had an overwhelming vote bank within the armed forces and the party would not be deterred whatever coercive measure were adopted to suppress its voice.

Mr Khan said he never witnessed such a pre-poll rigging in the country’s history and they planned to rig Feb 8 elections, but they would see the public rage on the election day. In reply to a question about the possibility of a deal with stakeholders, Mr Khan said that the only deal in which he is now interested is holding of free and transparent elections.

He said the prevailing mindset of the power corridors is harmful for the country and the election is for “real freedom”. The former prime minister said he has applied to cast the vote through the postal ballot.

Accountability judge Mohammad Bashir deferred the indictment of Mr Khan in the £190m reference as the defence counsel was absent.

Judge of Special Court (Official Secrets Act) Abual Hasnat Mohammad Zulqarnain, on the other hand, concluded the cross-examination of four prosecution witnesses in the cipher case. There are 25 prosecution witnesses to be cross-examined by the counsel for Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

IHC bench reserves judgement

Meanwhile, a division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri reserved its decision on two petitions of Imran Khan against his trial at Adiala Jail in Toshakhana and 190m pound corruption cases.

Mr Khan’s counsel Shoaib Shaheen said the notification had been issued in violation of relevant laws.

He pointed out that earlier another division bench of the IHC had scrapped court proceedings while observing flaws in the issuance of the notification for the jail trial.

Attorney General Awan told the court that the matter before the other bench was not identical. He said the government has completed all codal formalities for the former prime minister’s trial in jail.