Thursday, September 28, 2023

Cracks within PTI legal team laid bare as lawyers engage in spat

Advocate Sher Afzal Khan Marwat calls Shoaib Shaheen "sole traitor" in PTI's legal team

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyers Sher Afzal Khan Marwat (left) and Shoaib Shaheen (right). — Twitter/@sherafzalmarwat/@advshoaib66
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyers Sher Afzal Khan Marwat (left) and Shoaib Shaheen (right). — Twitter/@sherafzalmarwat/@advshoaib66

  • Sher Afzal Khan Marwat calls Shoaib Shaheen "sole traitor". 
  • Shaheen says Marwat's claims are his "personal stance". 
  • PTI says Marwat's statement has nothing to do with party. 

Cracks within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legal team have come to the fore with lawyers Sher Afzal Khan Marwat and Shoaib Shaheen engaging in a spat as the former levelled serious allegations against the latter, according to The News.

In a detailed social media post, advocate Marwat from PTI's legal team has levelled serious allegations against party chief Imran Khan’s lawyer Shoaib Shaheen, calling him the "sole traitor". 

However, Shaheen — while speaking to The News — has called the claims Marwat’s "personal stance" and not the party’s position.

On Wednesday, Marwat wrote on X — formerly known as Twitter — that “the only traitor in PTI’s legal team is Shoaib Shaheen Advocate. He mysteriously emerged in the last week of April 2023 and I was surprised to see him at the legal committee meeting in Bani Gala."

"He had never been part of the ILF or PTI before and his access to Bani Gala reflected that he had the support of some in our ranks.”

This post on social media follows a post last month by Marwat in which he had said that there were people within the PTI’s legal team who were “leaking sensitive party information to adversaries” and such “traitors” in the legal team and the party’s core committee had put his “life in danger”. 

Marwat had deleted his August post apparently on “advice from seniors of the core committee”.

He further wrote, "Shaheen deals with service tribunal cases and does not know the ABC of criminal law” and went on to claim that he, “despite not being a lawyer in a single criminal case filed against Khan sahab, had started posing as Khan sahab's lawyer, which was a fraud.”

Marwat also accused “powerful secret forces” within the PTI of supporting Shaheen, questioning why when “the entire PTI leadership was blacklisted on electronic media, [Shaheen] was the only person who was neither stopped nor blacklisted”. 

He said that despite being irrelevant to Imran's legal team — being “an employment and services lawyer” — Shaheen managed to somehow make it to every meeting of the party’s legal team. 

Marwat also insinuated that Shaheen had the support of “two individuals” in the party.

He has accused Shaheen of leaking the PTI strategy to the “agriculture department”, saying that the PTI strategy was also already known to state attorneys.

In his post, Marwat said that Shaheen had essentially damaged the PTI’s legal battle and that he [Marwat] could challenge [anyone] that Shaheen had not represented Imran in a single criminal case and yet continues to claim to be his lawyer. 

Not just that, Marwat has also claimed in his post that “before the year 2023, [Shaheen] would boast about his connections within ‘agencies’ — and this was also common knowledge in the Islamabad bar”.

Responding to these allegations, Shaheen told this reporter that “a person who creates divisions within the party cannot be from the PTI”.

He also said that he had answered questions about Marwat in the Supreme Court, adding that the PTI had nominated five spokespersons one of whom included himself. 

Asserting that his “position aligns with the PTI’s stance”, Shaheen said that Marwat’s allegations were his personal opinion and not the party’s stance.

At the end of his post, advocate Marwat also said that Shaheen had been plotting against him and that his social post would encourage Shaheen’s “facilitators and associates to undermine my position in the PTI and [they] may target me through their secret friends, but I consider it a sacred duty that all PTI workers know the reality....I will meet Khan Sahib tomorrow and inform him about my tweet."

Meanwhile, the PTI’s official X account responded on Wednesday night to Marwat’s allegations, saying that: “The recent statement of Sher Afzal Marwat Advocate is totally based on his personal opinion” and has nothing to do with the PTI."

The post added that Shoaib Shaheen “is a key member of the approved legal team of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, part of the [party’s] core committee, and is authorized to represent the PTI’s position on legal and political issues. The PTI appreciates the services of all the members of the legal team, including Shoaib Shaheen....”.