Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan has accused the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) of threatening the country’s chief justice in a manner reminiscent of the 1997 attack on the Supreme Court. He claimed that PML-N is afraid of elections and is using threats to influence the court’s decisions. Khan made these comments in a tweet on Friday, calling on the people of Pakistan to take to the streets to protect democracy, the constitution, and the rule of law.
Khan’s comments came as the Supreme Court denied the Attorney General of Pakistan Mansoor Awan’s appeal for a full court bench to hear the PTI case about the postponement of elections for the Punjab Assembly. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial stated that the subject had been heard since Monday and that they would not “go back” to the beginning because neither the legislation nor the norms addressed the makeup of a full court. After two members of the five-member bench excused themselves, the hearing proceeded.
Khan’s call for public action and legal profession leadership echoes the 2007 lawyers’ campaign to safeguard Pakistan’s constitution and rule of law. He urged the legal profession to take the lead once again in protecting the country’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has also requested that Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial appoint a full bench to hear the Punjab polls delay petition. He warned that if the case is not heard by a full bench, the nation will fall into “chaos and anarchy” and urged the chief justice not to “drive the nation towards disorder.”
Khan’s accusations against the PML-N are not the first time the party has been accused of using threats to influence court decisions. The 1997 attack on the Supreme Court by PML-N supporters was seen as an attempt to intimidate the court and prevent it from hearing a contempt plea against then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The current situation raises concerns about the independence of Pakistan’s judiciary and the potential for political interference. It also highlights the need for a strong and independent legal profession to defend Pakistan’s democracy and the rule of law. The outcome of the PTI case about the postponement of elections for the Punjab Assembly will be closely watched, and any perceived bias or political influence could further undermine public trust in Pakistan’s judiciary.