Pakistan’s ex-Pm Imran Khan hires UK lawyer to represent him in international courts

Last Updated on September 2, 2023 1:32 pm

Islamabad: Taking a significant step in his legal battle against “unlawful detention and human rights abuses”, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has hired the services of a British barrister, Geoffrey Robertson KC to represent him in the international courts.

The announcement comes at a time when the deposed prime minister — who was ousted from office after a vote of no-confidence in April last year — remains incarcerated in the Attock District jail following his conviction on August 5 in the Toshakhana case.

The PTI chief’s conviction stemmed from his failure to declare gifts received during his tenure in office, for which he was handed a three-year prison sentence and a Rs100,000 fine, rendering him ineligible to participate in upcoming elections.

While the Islamabad High Court had overturned the said conviction, he remained behind bars due to his judicial remand in the cipher case till September 13, as he was booked by the Federal Investigation Agency for revealing state secrets under the Official Secrets Act.

The development regarding the UK lawyer was revealed by Khan’s political party on Friday, after it shared a post on its official X account, announcing to engage the international legal expert, who has previously represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Salman Rushdie.

The decision to bring Robertson on board was confirmed by the party on its X account, where it shared a screenshot of a post by the Doughty Street Chambers — a set of barristers’ chambers based in the United Kingdom.

“PTI Chairman, Former Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI has appointed the eminent Human Rights Barrister Geoffrey Robertson KC of @DoughtyStreet Chambers to advise and represent him in international courts in relation to unlawful detention and human rights abuses,” the post on X read.

Meanwhile, the chambers, on its international X account, also shared the same announcement.

In another post on X, the party mentioned Robertson’s career as a barrister.

“Geoffrey Robertson KC is a Founding Head of Doughty Street Chambers. He has had a distinguished career as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and author of leading textbooks,” the post stated.

‘Going to int’l court against state and country’
Reacting to Robertson’s hiring, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Attaullah Tarar — during a presser in Lahore today — said, “Chairman PTI’s announcement to go to the International Court is to go against the state and the country.”

Tarar maintained that Khan worked against national institutions and gave evidence of anti-nationalism on May 9 during the riots in which his nephew, sisters and entire family were involved.

“A political party attacked the country,” he said, adding that one person was misleading the entire youth.

‘Injustices will be exposed’
Meanwhile, PTI leader and former minister, Sayed Zulfi Bukhari, also shared the announcement on the social media platform, mentioning the high-profile cases overseen by the human rights lawyer.

He added that Robertson has “successfully represented many hundreds of people who have suffered human rights abuses including unlawful detention.

“He successfully represented President Lula da Silva of Brazil at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva for the human rights and legal abuses he suffered by a biased judiciary in Brazil,” Bukhari wrote in his post.

Robertson, he added, enjoys a distinguished career as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and author of leading books on the struggle for human rights and global justice.

“IA soon the injustices will be exposed,” the post stated.

Last month, Geo News — quoting UK solicitor Rashad Yaqoob — had reported details of the international legal engagement by the former prime minister and some of his aides.

It was reported that the PTI chief had engaged Yaqoob and his organisation Human Rights Legal Aid Foundation (HRLAF) and Azhar Siddique, the Pakistan Supreme Court lawyer who is now based in Manchester to represent Khan on the international front.

However, PTI denied any such development, stating it has “no association/connection with the organisation HRLAF or Mr Rashad Yaqoob.”

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