LAHORE: PPP leader and senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan says the cipher case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan is not valid under the law while all the cases against him are fabricated and politically motivated while Hamid Khan has termed the current political and rights situation worse than martial laws.

Both senior lawyers were speaking at a seminar on the human rights violations in the country jointly hosted by Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and a private organisation here on Saturday.

Ahsan said it was unfortunate that the courts and the Constitution were being undermined in the country. He called it unfortunate that the political leaders were being arrested again and again soon after getting a bail from the courts. He mentioned that PTI leader Shehryar Afridi had been released 13 times and arrested 14 times, which was a mockery of justice and it should come to an end. He said a judge remarked that they (authorities) should not arrest anyone in a case but despite that they (PTI leaders) were arrested.

The PPP leader regretted that the Supreme Court had ordered general elections to be held on May 14 but it did not happen and it seemed that a decision had been made not to accept the orders of the courts.

Aitzaz terms all cases against Imran fabricated; Hamid Khan says situation worse than martial law

He said the military courts could not be established without an amendment to the Constitution. He said the lawyers stood by the Constitution, the rule of law and oppressed workers of any political party.

Former president of Supreme Court Bar Association Hamid Khan said he had witnessed the martial law eras of Ayub Khan and Ziaul Haq besides the democratic rule of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He said even back then the political leaders and workers would be rearrested if they were granted bail by the courts and such violations of the law were still happening in the same way.

He lamented that women were being forcibly taken from their homes at midnight and such treatment of women had never occurred in the country’s history.

“During Zia’s era, at least the sanctity of four walls was not violated,” he recollected.

Khan said preventing people from protesting against inflation was a violation of constitutional rights.

“Every citizen has the constitutional right to support a political party,” he declared.

“People are being prevented from engaging in business activities due to their political affiliations, which is a concern.”

Hamid Khan stated that freedom of expression was being restricted and there was a blatant disregard for the Constitution.

He pointed out the seminars and programmes organised by lawyers were being stopped for the first time in the country. He said it was alarming that supporters of a particular political party were being barred from politics.

Without naming the PTI, the senior lawyer said the Lahore High Court (LHC) was not protecting the constitutional rights of a political party.

He said the LHC judges were being obliged through interest-free loans.

“We know why Lahore High Court judges are being offered interest-free loans,” he said and hoped that the judges would refuse to accept the soft loans.

Hamid Khan said the lawyers were in favour of a transparent inquiry into the events of May 9.

LHCBA President Ishtiaq A Khan and Vice President Rabbiya Bajwa also spoke at the seminar.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2023

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