Section 144 imposed in Punjab to hamper PTI show of strength: Imran Khan

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Islamabad [Pakistan], January 25: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the Punjab government has imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to hamper the upcoming power show by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s candidates.
The former PM made the remarks after attending court proceedings of GBP 190 million, Toshakhana, and cypher cases. Accountability judge Mohammad Bashir deferred the indictment of Khan in the £190m reference as the defence counsel was absent.
Khan said Pakistan’s caretaker government, a few individuals in the establishment, and the Election Commission of Pakistan are united against his party, according to Dawn report.
He stressed that PTI had an overwhelming vote bank within the armed forces, and the party will not be deterred whatever coercive measures were adopted to suppress its voice.
Khan said he never witnessed such pre-poll rigging in Pakistan’s history, and they planned to rig elections set to be held on February 8. However, he added that they would see the public rage on Election Day.
In response to a question about the possibility of a deal with stakeholders, he said that the only deal in which he is now interested is conducting free and transparent polls.
Khan said the prevailing mindset of the power corridors is harmful for Pakistan and stressed that the election is for “real freedom.” He stated that he has applied to cast his vote through the postal ballot.
He said Section 144 was imposed after he asked the PTI candidates to carry out large-scale public meetings. He expressed apprehensions that the government will not permit PTI candidates to hold their show of power.
The PTI founder accused Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader of being behind the imposition of Section 144 as he was not able to bring out people in public meetings, Dawn reported.
Imran Khan said the PTI has formulated a contingency plan and in case any candidate is arrested or stopped from contesting the polls, his replacement will do so.
Special Court Judge (Official Secrets Act) Abual Hasnat Mohammad Zulqarnain, concluded the cross-examination of four prosecution witnesses in the cypher case. There are 25 prosecution witnesses to be cross-examined by Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lawyer.
The witnesses who were cross-examined on Wednesday included Deputy Director of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Iqra Ashraf, Imran Sajid, Shamoon Qaiser and cypher assistant Mohammad Nauman, Dawn reported.
In a related development, a division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved its decision on two petitions of Imran Khan against his trial at Adiala Jail in Toshakhana and corruption case.
Khan’s lawyer Shaheen said the notification had been issued in violation of relevant laws. He stressed that earlier, another division bench of the Islamabad High Court had scrapped court proceedings while observing faults in the issuance of the notification for the jail trial, according to Dawn report.
During the court proceedings, Attorney General Awan said the matter before the other bench was not identical. He said the government has completed all codal formalities of Imran Khan’s trial in jail.

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