PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday passed a resolution demanding the immediate release of PTI founder and former prime minister Imran Khan, his wife, Bushra Bibi, and all those arrested over the May 9 violent protests.

The resolution, which was tabled by former speaker of the assembly Mushtaq Ghani and signed by local government minister Akbar Ayub, also called for an independent judicial inquiry into the May 9 incidents and the release of their CCTV footage.

“This assembly recommends that the provincial government ask the federal government to immediately withdraw all fake cases against Qaidi Number 804 [prisoner No 804] Imran Khan and [his wife] Bushra Bibi, and release all May 9 prisoners so that the agitation in the public ends,” read the resolution.

It added that May 9 incidents should be probed by an independent judicial commission, and their CCTV footage should be made public.

Opposition complains sitting was called at short notice

The resolution was adopted by the house, with Speaker Babar Saleem Swati in the chair.

The speaker first announced that the resolution was adopted unanimously. However, the opposition objected, prompting him to put the resolution to a voice vote.

The house again approved the resolution, with the opposition opting to remain silent.

The session that took place in the afternoon was called in the morning at the request of 38 treasury members on Thursday.

At the outset of the sitting, Leader of the Opposition Dr. Ibadullah Khan complained that the assembly met after a delay of more than two months.

He said the opposition members came to the house on April 2 to participate in the Senate elections but found strangers occupying the chairs of the speaker and assembly secretary, referring to the Election Commission of Pakistan officials.

Dr. Ibadullah complained that Friday’s sitting was called at short notice and wondered how it was possible for members present in Dera Ismail Khan, Shangla, Hazara, and other regions to make it the provincial capital on “two-hour notice.”

He said the requisition was sent to the newly-appointed governor on his first day in office.

“Nothing wrong would have happened had the session been called a day later,” he insisted.

The opposition leader claimed that the provincial government had been unconstitutionally utilising the province’s consolidated funds since March.

“I’ve challenged the authorisation of expenditure by the current cabinet in the high court, which put the speaker, the chief minister, and the cabinet members on notice,” he said.

Dr Ibadullah asked the speaker and government why they’re “committing unconstitutional violations.”

He said on one hand, the PTI was staging street protests for the rule of law, but on the other, its own government was violating the Constitution, the law, and the rules.

Responding to the points of the opposition leader, Speaker Swati said the assembly’s old hall was reserved for the Senate elections, but the ECP officials entered it.

“I have ordered an inquiry into the incident,” he said, adding that the inquiry’s findings will be made public.

The speaker said the KP government had sent a requisition for the PA session to the governor, but it sat on it, prompting treasury members to requisition the sitting.

He said the members were formally informed about the session.

Mr Swati said he was following the law and rules and would continue doing so.

“We are not the ones who trample on the Constitution and destroy everything,” he said.

Also in the session, the speaker administers an oath to Sunni Ittehad Council member Daud Shah Afridi, who was elected in the recent by-election in Kohat district.

Mr Afridi resented the detention of PTI founder Imran Khan and said the former prime minister was jailed just because he advocated the rule of law and the Constitution.

“We all [PTI members] will raise our voices for the rule of law until our last breath,” he said.

SIC member Tufail Anjum told the house that the May 9 episode was nothing but a drama.

“It all started on April 22, when Imran’s government was toppled, which led to the unconstitutional arrest of Imran Khan from the court’s premises and the May 9 incidents,” he said.

The treasury member demanded that compensation under the Shuhada Packages be provided to the families of all PTI workers who lost their lives on May 9 and May 10.

The speaker later adjourned the session until 2pm on Monday, May 13.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2024

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