ISLAMABAD: Incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan has said he fully endorses the communiqué of the corps commanders’ conference and wants strict action against those responsible for May 9 violence.

Talking to the media persons at Adiala Jail on Wednesday, Mr Khan demanded that the culprits be identified through CCTV footage, citing the example of the United States where protesters were held for insurrection and attacking Capitol Hill with the help of security footage.

The former PM, however, regretted that no one was apparently interested in an independent and fair probe into the May 9 violence.

“May 9 narrative could not work for Feb 8 [election],” he emphasised, adding that only three political parties were the beneficiaries of rigged elections.

Criticises ECP for depriving his party of reserved seats; demands audit of four constituencies

He also criticised the ECP for depriving his party of reserved seats, terming the move ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘contradictory to the democracy’. He questioned the legal basis on which reserved seats were allocated to those parties which were not entitled.

The ex-PM demanded audit of four constituencies, including the Lahore constituencies of Nawaz Sharif and Aun Chaudhry and the one in Peshawar from where Noor Alam was declared successful.

He quoted Khawaja Asif as alleging that former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had asked the then opposition to topple the PTI government. Mr Khan also claimed Gen Bajwa had offered him reward for ‘behaving nicely’, but he rejected the offer.

The PTI founder said he would never accept the results of the recent elections, as it would be tantamount to “accepting the slavery”. He told the media that his party would hold a massive public gathering in Peshawar against alleged rigging on Sunday.

He claimed that the Feb 8 general election was “the most rigged one in the history” which would adversely affect the economy with the result that public at large would suffer an ‘irreparable loss’. It was the ‘stolen mandate’ of East Pakistan that was behind the 1971 tragedy, he said, adding that the country could not survive without political stability.

Mr Khan said the Sharifs were solely relying upon the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) for their future politics, but it alone could not attract foreign investment. He said the Sharifs had already changed their narrative.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel in £190m corruption case against Imran Khan cross-examined two prosecution witnesses before an accountability court inside the Adiala jail.

Property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son Ahmed Ali Riaz, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Zulfi Bukhari, Farah Khan and an associate lawyer of Mr Akbar, who have also been facing charges in the corruption case, were declared proclaimed offenders for absconding.

Judge Nasir Javed Rana summoned two more witnesses on March 13.

On the other hand, a division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri sought a response from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Mr Khan’s bail application in the corruption case.

When Justice Farooq inquired if the petitioner was seeking relief under the provisions related to bail after arrest or invoked the high court jurisdiction seeking bail through court discretion, counsel Sardar Latif Khosa said the case was related to bail after arrest and, therefore, it didn’t matter under which provision the petition had been filed.

The court then re-issued notices to NAB and adjourned further hearing till next week.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2024

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