ISLAMABAD: The PML-N, a major political rival of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, and its ally in the upcoming elections, Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP), have hailed the special court’s judgement against ex-premier Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case, with PTI fou­n­der’s erstwhile confidante Jahangir Khan Tareen saying that both are reaping what they sowed.

On the other hand, the United States said it was a “legal matter ultimately for Pakistan’s courts [to decide]”.

Commenting on the conviction of the PTI founder, PML-N’s Punjab chapter president and former interior minister Rana Sanaullah said he had been convicted according to court procedure.

“He [Imran] has paid the price for playing with national security,” Mr Sanaullah wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after the judgement.

“Imran Khan is still lucky to have a Supreme Court forum to appeal against this decision. In the case of Nawaz Sharif, he was convicted directly by the SC and he even did not have the right to appeal.”

US State Dept refuses to classify Pakistani legal process as ‘kangaroo court’

Similar views were expressed by IPP patron-in-chief and former secretary general of the PTI Jahangir Khan Tareen after a workers’ convention in Multan.

He said he was sad to hear about the sentence, but then both Mr Khan and Mr Qureshi were reaping what they had sowed.

“Whoever had done wrong would have to suffer the consequences and one should not do anything that would harm the country,” the IPP chief said, adding that he respects court decisions.

He said after the Feb 8 election, he would work with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif to bring the national economy out of crisis.

However, Jamaat-i-Islami’s take on the cipher case verdict was different. Its chief Sirajul Haq not only condemned the decision but also demanded that an independent commission find the truth.

US reaction

When asked about the verdict during a State Department briefing, spokesperson Matthew Miller said: “It is a legal matter ultimately for Pakistan’s courts. We have been following the cases… brought against the former prime minister. But don’t have any comment on the sentencing… It’s a matter for the Pakistani courts.”

When a questioner compared the proceedings to those of ‘kangaroo courts’ in Venezuela, the spokesperson said: “They are different situations and we have not made that conclusion with respect to Pakistan’s legal process.”

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2024

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