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PTI moves SC registries, seeks judicial commission to investigate Imran Khan attack

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  • PTI seeks formation of three judicial commissions.
  • Party wants SC to probe Swait’s alleged video leak saga. 
  • Qureshi says “right” to register FIR not being recognised.

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: PTI Monday moved five registries of the Supreme Court in different cities across the country seeking the formation of a judicial commission to probe the assassination attack on party chief Imran Khan in Wazirabad.

The Punjab Police had registered a first information report (FIR) on the Supreme Court’s orders last week, but the PTI was not satisfied as it did not contain the names of the people whom Khan wanted to nominate.

Bullet fragments hit Khan in the legs on November 3 during PTI’s long march in Wazirabad, following which he was moved to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Lahore. He was discharged later and is now at his residence.

In the petition, the PTI has requested the top court to hold public hearings and form commissions on three matters — the Wazirabad attackjournalist Arshad Sharif’s killing, and Senator Azam Swati’s alleged video leak saga.

Before the PTI, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also written letters to Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to form judicial commissions on two issues — the attack on Khan and the murder of Sharif.

PTI’s petition claimed that the assassination bid near Gujranwala was a “clear attempt to literally eliminate ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan”.

The petition maintained that following the incident, another “grave injustice” continues to fester as the police have “refused to register the FIR according to the request submitted by the complainant”.

In light of this, the PTI urged the top court to invoke its original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

The petition also sought the formation of a judicial commission into the alleged “illegal video recording” of Senator Azam Swati and his wife, which according to the party, contains their footage while they were staying at an official rest house.

“This is an infringement of inviolable dignity of man guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan as well as a gross violation of the law in terms of wiretaps and clandestine camera placements for the purposes of making covert videos,” the petition said.

Moving on, the party has also raised the matter of slain journalist Sharif’s murder with the court. The senior anchorperson was killed in Kenya and Kenyan authorities claim that he lost his life in a “mistaken identity case”.

The party said the “brutal assassination of famous journalist has created lot of consternation in the public in-general and journalist community in particular”.

The petition said that it is crucial that an independent commission inquires about the circumstance that compelled Sharif to flee the country and eventually end up in Kenya.

“In view of the foregoing, it is respectfully requested that the instant application may kindly be put before the honourable Supreme Court for an appropriate and timely order for the constitution of a Commission in terms of Order XXXII of Supreme Court Rules 1980 to hold public inquiry in the above-said issues and record its findings in a detailed report.”

‘Right’ not being recognised

In a press conference after submitting the petition to the SC’s Lahore Registry, PTI Vice President Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the party has requested the chief justice to form judicial commissions.

Qureshi said that the MPs have submitted applications in Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and Lahore.

He said that the facts and those responsible for the attack should be brought forward while urging an investigation into the matter. “Our right to launch an FIR is not being recognised,” he added.

For his part, PTI Senior Vice President Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Khan barely survived an assassination attempt, but an FIR of the attack was not being registered.

“The law is clear. I am nominating that these people are involved in it. You simply register the complaint,” Fawad said.

“I say don’t weaken the Supreme Court so much that people stop looking to it,” Fawad said, adding that decisions could not be taken in closed rooms in Pakistan.

“If elections were held timely, the country would be in a better condition.”

He said PTI was fighting a war to redeem the pride of institutions. “A crisis has arisen in the judicial system, the same is the case with other institutions,” Fawad added.

“Our fight is to restore the gravitas of the constitution, democracy, and institutions. We have advised them to avoid conflicts and move forward,” Fawad said, adding: “There are three issues on which we want the supreme court to take notice”.

Alluding to the ouster of his party in a late-night vote of no-trust, he said the “regime change operation” created a lot of instability in Pakistan.

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PML-Q leader Chaudhry Wajahat, son Moosa Elahi booked in attempted murder case

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  • PML-N leader Muhammad Ali named 11 in attempted murder case.
  • House attacked, fired upon with intent to kill, says the FIR.
  • Wajaht, Moosa already booked in a terrorism case. 

Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain and his son Moosa Elahi have been named along with nine others in an attempted murder case by a Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Muhammad Ali.

The case against the PML-Q leaders was filed at the Karianwala police station of Gujrat.

In the FIR, plaintiff Muhammad Ali accused 11 people including Chaudhary Wajahat and Moosa Elahi of attacking and firing at his house in an attempt to murder him on January 23.

The PML-Q leaders are already booked under terrorism charges after an audio leak allegedly plotting to kidnap a woman lawmaker.

In the audio the duo could be heard planning to threaten the lawmakers, forcing them to go underground. The complainant said that following the audio leak, Moosa and Wajahat appeared in Kotla Arab Ali Khan with nearly 25 armed men and terrorised residents at gunpoint.

In the complaint, it was alleged that the armed men allegedly thrashed many locals and threatened elders of the area with kidnapping and killing them. They allegedly opened fire on the elders and then fled.

It is to be noted that after the emergence of apparent differences within the party ranks the PML-Q’s general council removed Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as the party chief and replaced him with Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain. 

Rally against a police raid on Elahi’s residence

Muslim League-Q supporters staged a rally against a raid at Parvez Elahi’s house in Gujrat on Wednesday.

The Punjab Police raided former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi’s Gujrat residence to arrest Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain on February 1.

The rally, taken out from Muslim League House to Press Club on Davis Road, was led by PML-Q Punjab President Khadija Umar Farooqui.

Umar termed the raid an incident of political victimisation, urging the Supreme Court to take notice of the ‘attack.’

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Another FIR filed against Sheikh Rashid in Murree police station

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  • A second FIR has been filed against Sheikh Rashid.
  • He is charged with threatening cops of serious consequences. 
  • Minister is in police custody for serious allegations against Zardari.

Another case has been filed against former interior minister Sheikh Rashid at a police station in Murree for interfering in official affairs, Geo News reported.

The former minister, who is an ally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, was arrested in the early hours of Thursday [February 2] from Murree Motorway. The arrest sparked criticism from the former premier, Imran Khan.

The first information report (FIR) was lodged at the complaint of investigation officer Ashiq Ali, from the Aabpara police station, Islamabad. Sheikh Rashid threatened the police personnel and stated that he would not spare them, according to the FIR.

Another FIR filed against Sheikh Rashid in Murree police station

The FIR was registered under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Pakistan, charging Sheikh Rashid with interfering in official affairs and resisting his arrest. The FIR states that the former minister physically pushed and abused the police officers and threatened them with serious consequences at gunpoint.

Besides the former minister, his two employees have also been implicated in the case.

The FIR states that when the police arrived at Sheikh Rashid’s residence, he came out with his armed servants and resisted police efforts while threatening them. He was told that he was booked under three sections of the Pakistan Penal Code — 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), read the FIR.

After that, he started resisting and interfering in the official affairs of the police, while threatening them with serious consequences at gunpoint.

Abusing the policemen, Sheikh Rashid said he had been a minister several times and that he would not spare them, read the FIR. Hence, he committed an offence under Section 506ii (threatening to cause death or grievous hurt], 353 [Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty] and 186 [Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions].

The arrest

The police claimed to arrest Rashid from Murree Road in the wee hours of Thursday. However, the former interior minister and his nephew, Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, contradicted the police’s version and said that the authorities took him into custody from his house in Rawalpindi and not the motorway.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Rawalpindi Division President Raja Inayat Ur Rehman had filed a case against Rashid in Islamabad’s Aabpara Police Station for alleging that former president Asif Ali Zardari was hatching a plot to assassinate the PTI chief.

In the FIR, the PPP divisional president stated that the AML chief tried to badmouth a former president and cause a “permanent danger” to the PPP co-chairman and his family.

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PTI’s petition against ECP notice in prohibited funding case rejected

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The Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) on Thursday dismissed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) petition against the ruling of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding the prohibited funding case.

In August 2022, the election commission issued a show-cause notice to the PTI after it concluded that the party received funding from prohibited sources. The notice was later challenged in the IHC.

A larger bench of the IHC — comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Miangul Hassan and Justice Babar Sattar — had reserved its verdict on January 11 after arguments were completed.

The verdict was announced verbally. 

During the hearing, the court had observed that the ECP’s responsibility was merely to do what the Constitution permitted — which was limited to the confiscation of funds.

While the ECP during the hearing claimed that it had no power to change its decision, the court had observed that should the PTI present in the court satisfactory evidence — proving the legitimacy of the funds — the amount would not be confiscated.

The PTI counsel had argued during that hearing that the ECP had declared it a “foreign-aided” party and had rejected the declaration of PTI chief Imran Khan false.

“Political parties’ finances are looked after by a chartered accountant,” he argued. “The ECP has targeted PTI.”

The chief justice had said that the ECP had not made any declaration in its report, “the decision of the ECP is sometimes called an order, sometimes a report and sometimes just an opinion. In my opinion, this was a fact-finding report,” he said.

However, the ECP’s representative insisted that it was not just a report but a decision.

“The ECP could not have issued a show-cause notice without giving a decision,” he said.

During a hearing of the case, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said: “Are you afraid that Imran Khan will be disqualified on this issue? The ECP will not make any declaration in this show-cause notice, nor will take criminal action against Khan. Its authority extends only to the extent of confiscation of funds.”

Moreover, the court in the previous hearing had also criticised the ECP for taking the matter to the federal government, as doing so had led to a number of cases being registered against PTI by the FIA.

Now, if the court rules in favour of PTI, the notice will be retracted and the cases against the party will be withdrawn. It is also likely that the court will advise the electoral body to reassess the matter.

PTI challenges ECP ruling

On August 10 last year, the PTI challenged the ECP’s ruling in the IHC, seeking annulment of the order in the prohibited funding case.

In his petition filed with the IHC, PTI Additional Secretary-General Omar Ayub asked the court to not only nullify the August 2 ruling, but also revoke the ECP’s show-cause notice sent to PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

The petitioner said he was “grossly aggrieved” by the fact-finding report — which revealed that the PTI had obtained funds from foreign sources — and demanded that it be declared “perverse, incorrect and in excess of authority and jurisdiction”.

In his petition, Ayub also asked the court to “declare that any action suggested by the ECP is beyond its authority and that no action can be taken on the basis of a fact-finding report”.

The PTI also made the ECP a party in the case.

ECP verdict in prohibited funding case

On August 2, 2022, the ECP, in a unanimous verdict, announced that the PTI received prohibited funding. The case was earlier referred to as the “foreign funding” case, but later the election commission accepted the PTI’s plea to refer to it as the “prohibited funding” case.

The commission found that donations were taken from America, Australia, Canada and the UAE.

The PTI received funds from 34 individuals and 351 businesses including companies, the ECP verdict stated.

Thirteen unknown accounts also came to light, said the commission in the verdict, adding that hiding accounts are a “violation” of Article 17 of the Constitution.

The funds were also in violation of Article 6 of the Political Parties Act.

Moreover, the ECP found that Khan submitted a false Nomination Form I and that the affidavit provided regarding party accounts was also not authentic.

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