Resisting arrest

Imran’s following does not put him beyond the law

PTI chief Imran Khan’s aversion to arrest is well-known, but nothing showed it more than the resistance that was put up to the Islamabad police team, backed by reinforcements from the Punjab police, that reached his Zaman Park residence to execute the arrest warrants issued by a sessions judge in Islamabad, which had seen Mr Khan fail to appear four times for the reading to him of the indictment, following which he would plead, and after which the trial would duly proceed. It may be remembered that the trial is for his having filed an incorrect declaration before the Election Commission of Pakistan in the forbidden funding case. The ECP’s finding is the basis of this trial, where if he is found guilty, he would be disqualified from membership of the National Assembly.


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The resistance to arrest saw Mr Khan add insult to injury for the Islamabad police team, when after being told he was not available, it learnt that he was addressing the workers who had assembled to protect him from arrest. Mr Khan apparently saw no irony in saying that he wanted to thank the workers for their participation in the Jail Bharo Tehrik, which had recently been called off. Mr Khan’s resistance to arrest was attended by an atmosphere of violence, for despite pious talk from PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry, Mr Khan was resisting compliance with a warrant. When he was PM, the opposition provided many examples of leaders submitting to arrest, even in cases which later proved to be without any evidence. Mr Khan claims the cases against him are political persecution, but in this case, the arrest has been ordered by a court, not the government, in a case initiated by the ECP, not the government.


All the talk of the arrest being a ‘red line’ for PTI supporters gives the impression that his arrest would be followed by acts of open rebellion by PTI supporters. PTI supporters are plentiful, and may even be a majority, but the response to previous calls to arms, like the Long Marches on Islamabad and the Jail Bharo Tehrik, seem to indicate that PTI supporters are ready enough to vote for it, as seen in the series of recent by-elections, but are not ready to commit any violence. Mr Khan would do well to styop trying to show that he is above the law, and submit to it, even if he does not agree with it. After all, that is why he is afforded a rial, so that he can present his defence without restraint or restriction.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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