PTI takes U-turn after saying Imran to challenge detention in international court

As party comes under criticism for choosing lawyer who represented Rushdie, spokesman clarifies chairman never supported any such initiative

ISLAMABAD  -  The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on Saturday re­futed media reports regard­ing hiring of a foreign law firm to represent ex-prime min­ister Imran Khan in interna­tional courts to raise alleged human rights abuses in Paki­stan, hours after the party it­self made such an announce­ment on the social media.

A PTI spokesperson in a statement flatly refuted the social media reports regard­ing the hiring of a foreign law firm to raise the “worst human violations” in Pakistan in in­ternational courts.

“PTI Chairman Imran Khan never supported any such ini­tiative even in the face of the worst state oppression and suppression and open viola­tion of the Constitution and law in the country,” he added.

A day earlier, PTI from its official X (formerly Twit­ter) handle quoted a tweet of Doughty Street Internation­al, a group of leading interna­tional lawyers from Doughty Street Chambers, saying that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had appointed eminent human rights Barrister Geoffrey Rob­ertson to advise and represent him in international courts in relations to his unlawful de­tention and human rights abuses in Pakistan.

Hours after these reports, some journalists criticised the PTI for the decision say­ing that Robertson was the lawyer of Salman Rushdie and had defend­ed him in the blasphe­my case against him. De­fence analyst Ayesha Siddiqa rebuked some remarks from journal­ists and took to the X to say that “lawyers got en­gaged by all sorts of peo­ple.” Many others on so­cial media said that such remarks from senior journalists were tanta­mount to threatening the life of Imran Khan who has been imprisoned in Attock Jail. Sensing that the issue can take a dan­gerous turn and politi­cal opponents of Imran Khan will use it as a “re­ligious card” against him, the PTI deleted the tweet from its official X handle and issued a rebuttal that it would not get services of the law firm, according to the official party sourc­es. The PTI spokesper­son in the statement also strongly “condemned the reign of terror unleashed on” the PTI leaders and its workers in the country. He claimed that PTI nei­ther approached any ju­dicial forum outside Paki­stan nor has any intention to do so in future. “There is no truth in the reports.” The spokesperson ex­pressed disappointment over the “failure of the justice system to rein in the rising lawlessness, widespread brutalities and open violation of the law of the land.” He stat­ed that even then PTI de­manded justice from the Pakistan judicial system and wanted it to take the much-needed effective measures to ensure su­premacy of the Constitu­tion and the rule of law in the country. He said that the gravity of the situa­tion could be judged from the fact that the chairman of the largest political party of the country was facing the worst politi­cal vendetta in the histo­ry of the country. He stat­ed that besides being the target of a murderous at­tack and sabotaging the investigation of the as­sassination attack on him, more than 180 “false, fake and fabricated cases were framed against Khan in just 16 months.” He said that senior party leader­ship had been sent behind the bars in frivolous cases against them. He went on to say that PTI had been on the receiving end of the state’s violation of the constitution and the law for the past 17 months in general and especial­ly since May 9. The PTI spokesperson claimed that over 10,000 PTI workers, including senior leaders and women, were unlawfully imprisoned in jails, who were complete­ly deprived of their legal and constitutional rights. He said that after the dis­solution of the assem­blies of Punjab and Pa­khtunkhwa, the Supreme Court (SC) complete­ly failed to implement its order pertaining to the May 14 elections in Pun­jab. He demanded that it was high time the judicial system of Pakistan should start delivering justice and take steps for uphold­ing supremacy of the con­stitution and the rule of law in the country.