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Monday, July 15, 2024

UN Finds Imran Khan’s Incarceration Illegal, State Dept. Expresses “Rights Concerns”

The US State Department and UN urge Pakistan to respect human rights and release Imran Khan, highlighting legal inconsistencies in his detention.

The US Department of State on Monday emphasized the importance of Pakistan respecting the rights of its citizens. Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel highlighted that senior officials, including Secretary Blinken and Ambassador Blome, have consistently urged Pakistan, both privately and publicly, to adhere to its constitution and international commitments. Patel stressed the need for Pakistan to uphold fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and religion.

In response to the recent US House Resolution 901, which expressed support for democracy and human rights in Pakistan, the State Department reiterated its call for Pakistan to investigate any alleged irregularities in its general elections. The resolution urges the Biden administration to work with Pakistan to ensure the protection of democratic institutions and human rights.

UN Working Group’s Stance on Imran Khan’s Detention

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has declared the prosecution and detention of PTI founder Imran Khan as “without legal basis” and politically motivated. The group highlighted numerous legal inconsistencies and irregularities in the proceedings against Khan, concluding that his detention is arbitrary. The group has called for Khan’s immediate release and compensation for his unlawful detention.

The working group noted that Khan’s conviction in the first Toshakhana case was delivered in absentia, and his arrest involved law enforcement personnel breaking into his residence. The prosecution in the cipher case was also deemed baseless, lacking legal grounding as confirmed by intelligence services. The timing of multiple prosecutions against Khan was seen as a tactic to prevent him from contesting the general election.

Government’s Response

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar responded to the UN report, stating that Imran Khan’s detention and legal cases are internal matters of Pakistan. Tarar emphasized that Khan has all the rights accorded by the country’s constitution and laws. He asserted that the relief granted to Khan in several cases reflects the transparency and fairness of Pakistan’s judicial system.

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Tarar further stated that any demands beyond the constitution and international principles would be considered biased and unjust. He reiterated that as an independent state, Pakistan enforces its constitution and laws through its courts.

International Reactions and Future Implications

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s opinion has been met with significant reactions from various quarters. PTI termed the opinion a major development, highlighting that Khan’s detention was intended to disqualify him from running for political office. The group also referred the case to two UN special rapporteurs for further action.

Following the UN body’s report, the US State Department renewed its call for Pakistan to respect fundamental human rights. Vedant Patel emphasized that the US officials have consistently urged Pakistan to adhere to its constitution and international commitments, particularly concerning freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and religion.

The developments underscore the international community’s focus on human rights and democratic processes in Pakistan, urging the government to align its actions with global standards and ensure fair treatment for all citizens.