Lawyers, lured by Imran, seemingly hijacked PTI

ISLAMABAD   -  Imran Khan has recently said that he will award seats to the lawyers in upcoming elections and post-May 9th aftermath it seems like PTI has been hijacked by the lawyers.

Chairman PTI always seems to be surrounded by lawyers who are active on social media platforms.

These lawyers are often witnessed creating social media content and it has been also reported that some lobby through reporters that how many tickets Chairman PTI will award to lawyers and which lawyers.

The Nation has talked to several court reporters who have been covering court proceedings in recent trials of Chairman PTI.

Azam Khan, senior journalist associated with BBC Urdu, told The Nation that once while covering court proceedings inside the court room surrounded by Imran Khan’s lawyers, he asked Imran Khan a question and surprisingly later on he received a YouTube video of his interaction with Imran Khan in the court room. Both of us can be seen and heard in that video and it seemed the interaction was captured inside a studio.

Even though cell phones are not allowed to be used in any means within the court room but his lawyers were seen creating TikTok and YouTube content for the social media.

Azam Khan said Khawaja Haris, top legal counsel of Imran Khan, used to tell Nawaz Sharif in Panama trial that I’m clearing your file for long term and you’ll be remembered innocent in history. Political cases are best fought by political lawyers like how Aitzaz Ahsan and Babar Awan used to represent Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari and the cases were dragged through legal technicalities and eventually fizzled out. Even Nawaz Sharif in Hudabiya paper case came out clean.

Nawaz Sharif once asked Khawaja Haris to appear before media and put his case on media but Khawaja Haris denied and told Nawaz Sharif that media people will do the media part and I’ll do the legal part, remarked, Azam Khan

Awais Yousafzai, senior court reporter associated with Geo TV, told The Nation said that one of the major observation witnessed in Imran Khan trial was that legal counsel always pursue the case with authority and competency but Khan’s counsel always told court that they will consult with Imran Khan even for the undertaking. Sometimes the court had to ask Imran Khan’s counsel that you should advise this to your client.

Another unusual observation was that Imran Khan had different lawyers for different cases which cause infighting among the lawyers.

The lawyers were really active on the social media doing tweets, creating TikTok and even doing their own publicity. Even meetings of selected reporters with Imran Khan were managed by some of the lawyers.

Shoaib Shaheen, president Islamabad High Court Bar Association, and Sher Afzal Marwat who eventually became part of core committee of PTI were seen in the court alongside Imran Khan for moral support even though if they were not representing him in that particular case.

According to Awais Yousafzai it was also observed that some applications filed on behalf of chairman PTI were unnecessary. If genuine matters were challenged on legal technicalities outcome would’ve been very different. There were also legal discrepancies in appeals.

Saqib Bashir, senior court reporter and ex-president of Islamabad High Court Journalist Association, told The Nation that post-May 9th events not even a single leader or worker used to come to Imran Khan hearings. Even though nobody stopped them from attending court proceedings the workers and leaders were underground and they refrained from attending Khan’s hearings. Insaf Lawyers Forum’s members kept attending the proceedings though before and after May 9th incidents.

Lawyers filled the void created by leaders and workers of PTI and Imran Khan was left with no option but to include them in PTI.

Imran Khan also welcomed the lawyers in his party because police hesitate to arrest lawyers and if workers and leaders are not attending the proceedings then space should be given to more lawyers.

He remarked that in his opinion the cases are purely fought well by legal team of chairman PTI and they will have advantage in next forum of proceedings of Toshakhana case. There are several loopholes in the trial, it will take time but relief is expected for Imran Khan.

Imran Khan tried to create a populism atmosphere around the court. He likes to be surrounded by huge crowds. He pressurised and attacked the courts via planned crowd management and thought populism will take care of his cases, remarked Matiullah Jan, seasoned court reporter.

Khan’s case was weak and he thought he will compensate it with crowd pressure. Imran Khan as a popular leader thinks courts can be pressurised as he has already done in Panama case where pressure tactics were used to get the desired decision through court.

Lawyers movement in Musharraf regime has created a nuisance value for the young lawyers and many excited young lawyers have come closer to Khan recently. On the other hand Imran Khan thought lawyers are organized force and will help him fight his cases against the powerful quarters. He was standing on very weak legal ground thus has been convicted in Toshakhana case.

The rift among the courts has also been created because of populism atmosphere and the selfie taking TikTok making lawyers couldn’t save their client from going to the gallows, said Matiullah Jan.

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