Tehreek-i-Insaf takes govt to court for ‘stopping’ it from canvassing in KP

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PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Wednesday moved the Peshawar High Court against the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for allegedly stopping its leaders and workers from canvassing in the province, including the holding of rallies and gatherings, for the forthcoming general polls.

In a joint petition, PTI provincial president Ali Amin Gandapur, its provincial legal coordinator Mashal Azam and Insaf Lawyers Forum provincial vice-president Malik Arshad Ahmad sought multiple reliefs from the court.

They sought the court’s orders for respondents in the case, including the provincial chief secretary, to allow PTI members to conduct the election campaign for their candidates in the upcoming elections.

The petitioners requested the court to declare illegal the actions of respondents, including the provincial government, not to allow PTI members to canvas by holding the workers’ conventions, gatherings, rallies and processions.

They also said that the court should declare against the law the acts of restraining PTI workers from participating in national events and international issues, including Independence Day, Hurmat-i-Quran and Hurmat-i-Rasool rallies and registration of FIRs against them.

The petitioners requested the court to declare null and void all ‘illegal’ orders issued by the government and administration under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance against PTI leaders and workers for holding their scheduled public meetings.

They also said that the respondents should be stopped from harassing PTI members and registering concocted cases against them.

The petition is filed through a panel of lawyers, including Shah Faisal Uthmankhel, Umair Azam and Zeeshan Shinwari.

The respondents in it include the KP government through its chief secretary, provincial home secretary and inspector general of police (IGP).

The petitioners said that the PTI was a registered political party, which had got a proper election symbol, cricket bat, under Section 194 of the Elections Act.

They added that the Tehreek-i-Insaf was not a banned political party and stopping its members from exercising their fundamental rights and campaigning for their candidates in the upcoming elections was not only against their fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution but was also discriminatory under the law and all norms of justice.

The petitioners said that in such a scenario, there was no prospect of free and fair elections.

They claimed that after the “regime change” in 2022, a massive crackdown was launched on the PTI members and even many life attempts were made on party chairman Imran Khan.

The petitioners also said hundreds of illegal and concocted FIRs were registered against Imran Khan and party workers.

They contended that all the major political parties had begun their political campaign for the forthcoming general elections.

The petitioners said while political parties participated in the Independence Day celebrations and peaceful Hurmat-i-Quran protests across the country, it was shocking to note that FIRs were registered only against PTI leaders and workers on those occasions.

They contended that there was no hope of conducting free and fair elections as on one hand, major political parties had been permitted to continue political activities but on the other, the PTI was barred from doing that.

The petitioners said that on Sept 20, the PTI’s Karak district chapter formally requested the district administration for conducting the workers’ convention in a closed compound but the deputy commissioner didn’t allow it, while on the same day, the Awami National Party was given permission to hold a grand public meeting.

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