Imran Khan arbitrarily detained, says UN working group

Wednesday 10th July 2024 07:10 EDT

Karachi: A United Nations human rights working group says former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been arbitrarily imprisoned in violation of international law. In an opinion, the Geneva-based UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said the “appropriate remedy would be to release Khan immediately and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law”.

“[The] working group concludes that his detention had no legal basis and appears to have been intended to disqualify him from running for political office. Thus, from the outset, that prosecution was not grounded in law and was reportedly instrumentalised for a political purpose,” the UN working group said in the opinion, which was dated March 25 but only made public last week.

The group, made up of five independent experts, whose opinions are not binding but carry reputational weight, said Khan’s legal woes were part of a “much larger campaign of repression” against him and his Pakistan Tehree-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

It said that in the lead up to the 2024 general elections, members of Khan’s party were arrested and tortured and their rallies were disrupted. It also alleged “widespread fraud on election day, stealing dozens of parliamentary seats”.

The Pakistan government, meanwhile, denounced the report and termed it as “arbitrary and in violation of international law”, asserting that the arrest of the cricketer-turned-politician and the cases against him were an “internal matter” of the country.

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