The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) petition challenging the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision calling party chief Imran Khan’s arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) “legal”.
Following Khan’s arrest on Tuesday inside the IHC, the PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi summoned an emergency meeting of the seven-member committee to review the situation and devise a comprehensive strategy to secure the safe and early release of the party chair.
The senior PTI leader had announced the party’s plan to move the apex court.
PTI’s legal team headed by the party’s senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry submitted the petition.
“It is therefore, respectfully prayed that leave to appeal may please be granted against the impunged order 09-05-2023 passed by Hon’ble Islamabad High Court […] may be set-aside and further after hearing the parties the warrant dated 01-05-2023 issued by Chairman NAB may be declared void and further be directed to release the petitioner/accused forthwith in the interest of justice,” the petition filed by Arshad Ali Chaudhary read.
However, after the party submitted the petition, the registrar’s office returned the petition minutes after it was submitted.
The registrar’s office stated that the PTI chief did not approach the relevant forum, adding that he could file an intra-court appeal.
It further stated that the petition did not have the signatures of the PTI chief.
‘Very soon, Imran Khan will be free’
Speaking to the media outside the apex court, Fawad said: “As soon as Imran Khan was arrested, a legal and constitutional crisis was created in the country.”
He added that an economic crisis would also arise in the country. “Bloomberg reported that the arrest of Imran Khan will increase the risk of default.”
The PTI leader then said that arson and violence were not the way of PTI and that they could not “afford” to set buildings on fire.
Referring to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s acquittal from the NAB money laundering case, Fawad said: “Yesterday, Imran Khan was arrested for creating a free university for the poor, and today, Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz were acquitted in money laundering case”.
He slammed the federal government for “playing” with national security and attempting to create a terrible division in Pakistan and said government activists were provoking violence in PTI protests.
He then said that if the top judge’s orders had “no validity”, the courts should be closed.
Fawad further requested PTI protestors to remain peaceful, adding: “Pakistan has the worst censorship on media today.”
“My message to PTI workers is that the army, police and agencies are our own. Protestors should stay calm.”
“The leadership of the PTI movement is now in the hands of the people,” Fawad said, adding that young people and women consider Khan to be their only leader.
Speaking on the matter of the rejected petition, he said: “The petition against Imran Khan’s arrest has been numbered and will be scheduled for hearing soon.”
He said that Article 6 will be applied against the current Chief Minister and Cabinet of Punjab, Fawad added.
“Very soon, Imran Khan will be free, “ he concluded.