• Threatens action against sessions judge who granted Gill’s remand
• Announces plans to begin nationwide protest drive from today
• In response to remarks, Pemra bans live broadcast of PTI chief’s speeches
ISLAMABAD: After threatening to file cases against the police, bureaucracy, the Election Commission of Pakistan and political opponents over the treatment allegedly meted out to his chief of staff, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday warned the judiciary against its “biased” attitude towards his party, saying that it should brace itself for the consequences.
Despite the imposition of Section 144 of CrPC and Section 16 of the MPO in the federal capital, a large number of residents came out to attend the rally led by Mr Khan. The procession started from Zero Point and reached F-9 Park where the party leadership and their ally, former minister Sheikh Rashid, also addressed the participants.
Addressing a party rally in the capital’s F-9 park to express solidarity with embattled leader Dr Shahbaz Gill, Mr Khan called out Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved Mr Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she should prepare herself as action would be taken against her.
He also pointed out that there was no action against Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Defence Minister Khwaja Asif, who he claimed had also made statements against the armed forces. He said if a case could be registered against Gill, the PTI would file cases against “everyone”, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.
Mr Khan again called on the “neutrals” (a euphemism he uses for the military establishment) to stand with the nation rather than the “gang of thieves”, in reference to the ruling coalition. He said he wanted to ask the neutrals if they were “really neutral”. He also alleged that the Islamabad police was taking orders for action against his party leaders from ‘someone’.
“When I asked the police to ‘tell me what did you do to Shahbaz Gill’, they said ‘we did nothing, we got a boot from behind to follow orders’,” he said while announcing to move the Supreme Court against the alleged torture on Gill.
Moreover, he alleged that when the PTI-backed government in Punjab started taking action against police officials involved in torturing party workers on May 25 during their long march, the authorities got scared as they started receiving calls asking them not to touch the law enforcers.
On the other hand, the PTI chief said, Gill was caught and tortured to send a message and frighten people that if he could be broken mentally then anyone could be. About his decision to hold the rally on a 24-hour notice, Khan said it was because Gill was being treated inhumanely and restrictions were imposed on the service of ARY News.
He further claimed ARY had been suspended to send a message to other channels that they could face the same consequences.
At the end, the former premier announced that he would present a roadmap to the public in the party’s rally at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on Sunday (today), adding he planned to take to the streets across the country from today. “I’m going to take the nation along and tell them, including children and women, that Pakistan cannot become the country it was meant to be as envisioned by Allama Iqbal and Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah until we break the shackles of slavery,” he concluded the rally.
After Mr Khan’s speech, the electronic media regulator slapped a ban on all satellite TV channels from carrying the PTI chief’s speeches live. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) communiqué – issued late at night – held that channels had failed to implement a time-delay mechanism which could curtail such occurrences.
In a four-page document that included a specific reference to Mr Khan’s speech on Saturday night, where he had targeted police and judicial officers, the regulator said that only recorded speeches could be telecast, and those too would only be allowed if a time-delay mechanism was in place.
Although the order was not posted on Pemra’s official Twitter account at the time of going to print, a senior government functionary confirmed its authenticity.
In a separate statement, PML-N, PPP, MQM Pakistan and JUI-F called on the judiciary to take legal action against Imran and his aides for threatening a female judge and intimidating police officers, APP reported.
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2022