UN rights group demands release of former PM Imran Khan
The former PM has been behind bars since May 9, 2023

at 8:08 pm
Imran Khan
File pic of Imran Khan

Islamabad/United Nations, July 2: A United Nations human rights working group has demanded the immediate release of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, maintaining that his detention is in “violation of international law”.

Islamabad has maintained that the arrest of the former PM and the ongoing legal cases against him are strictly a domestic matter of the country.

The Geneva-based UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said in its report:

“(The) appropriate remedy would be to release Mr. Khan immediately and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.”

The UN body also maintained that Imran Khan was “reportedly instrumentalized for a political purpose”.

”(The) working group concludes that his (Imran Khan) detention had no legal basis and appears to have been intended to disqualify him from running for political office. Thus, from the outset, that prosecution was not grounded in law and was reportedly instrumentalised for a political purpose,” the report read.

Earlier, US Department of State Deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel termed the cases against Imran Khan as an “internal matter of Pakistan”.

He said that the US government urged the Pakistani government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The former PM has been behind bars since May 9, 2023 and was later convicted in the Toshakhana, Cipher, and Iddat cases.

Imran Khan’s convictions in the Toshakhana and Cipher cases have been suspended while he is still in prison in the Iddat case.

Reacting to the UN group’s statement, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar emphasised that Pakistan is a sovereign state where constitutional and legal matters are upheld through the judiciary.

He maintained that the former premier is serving his sentence as a lawfully convicted individual, and is entitled to all rights under national laws and international norms.

On January 30, a special court hearing cipher case handed a 10-year jail term, each, to the former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Both the PTI leaders were accused of conspiracy to misuse the contents of the cipher to fulfill nefarious purposes.

The first information report (FIR) was registered on August 15 under the Official Secrets Act. It was registered on the complaint of the Home Secretary.