PM Shehbaz blasts judiciary for giving 'extraordinary' relief to Imran Khan

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — APP
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — APP

Conveying his disappointment towards the judiciary's biased attitude towards Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif slammed the “double standards of justice” and "extraordinary relief" relief given to his rival in corruption cases.

He censured the judiciary for protecting the PTI chief like an iron shield and said that the coalition government would take every step to ensure the rule of law in Pakistan.

"The judiciary has become an iron shield for Imran Khan," the premier said, while addressing a cabinet meeting in Islamabad.

The premier's comments came a day after Supreme Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial ordered the release of the PTI chairman declaring his arrest on May 9 as "illegal".

Khan was arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) by Rangers personnel — acting on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) warrant — in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

The prime minister also questioned the judiciary about the treatment of other politicians in the country.

"Politicians were sent to jail in fake cases. Did any court ever take its notice?" he asked.

Commenting on the history of cases by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the premier said the anti-graft body has not spared anyone and has poisoned the entire country — from industries and educational establishments to religious institutions.

Other political leaders in the country, the premier said, faced trials and tough handling, while Khan was given a “privileged treatment”.

“These are the double standards of justice,” he said, expressing astonishment over CJP’s remarks during yesterday’s hearing where he said that he was pleased to meet the former prime minister.

He pointed out that thousands of cases by the general public were pending with the courts while some political figures were especially receiving bail on a priority basis.

Judiciary, he added, earlier also protected Khan in his corruption cases including the Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT), Billion Tree Tsunami tree plantation, and Malam Jabba development projects despite solid proofs of corruption by PTI.

He said the PTI chairman was part of an agenda to bring fascist rule to the country for 10 years.

“May 9 after the debacle of December 16, 1971, was a painful day in the country’s history when Imran Khan’s party unleashed havoc by attacking national and military installations,” PM Shehbaz said.

Despite the tragedy of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, PM Shehbaz recalled, her husband Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairperson Asif Zardari, raised the slogan of ‘Pakistan Khappay’ (We want Pakistan) as a “great gesture of nationalism”.

“Also, nobody hit the military installations even after the ‘judicial murder’ of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he added.

Former president Zardari, the prime minister said, was in prison at the time of his mother’s death but passed the time with patience rather than inciting the public to riots.

He further took down Khan referring to him as the “mastermind and planner” behind the attacks on military institutions and termed it a “disgrace” to the martyred military personnel who sacrificed their lives for the motherland.

The premier lamented that Pakistan was going through a difficult time and the coalition government was making efforts to address the inherited challenges.

He also lambasted PTI for pushing the country toward the brink of a dangerous situation and said the PTI chief — for months — made false and shameless claims about his ouster from the rule through “regime change” by the United States.

PM Shehbaz added the coalition government made tireless efforts to mend relations with the US in a diplomatic manner, while Imran Khan ultimately changed his stance against the US.

He pointed out that besides manoeuvring the situation with the International Monetary Fund, Khan made every effort for the country to be declared a default.

“Imran Khan incurred every possible damage to the very fabric of society by promoting hatred and intolerance,” the prime minister said.