The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has strongly criticized the decision made by the Supreme Court to release Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, with senior vice president of the party, Maryam Nawaz, demanding the resignation of Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.
On Thursday, the apex court ruled in favor of Imran Khan, declaring the arrest illegal and ordering the immediate release of the PTI chairman, bringing much-needed relief for him.
The three-member bench, headed by CJP Bandial and comprising of Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, issued the verdict on the PTI’s petition challenging Khan’s arrest.
Reacting to the decision, Maryam Nawaz, who also holds the position of PML-N chief organizer, criticized CJP Bandial, and called for his resignation. She said, “The Chief Justice was delighted today to meet the criminal who plundered Rs60 billion from national exchequer and he [CJP] was even more happy to release this criminal,” referring to the CJP’s comments made during the hearing.
The PML-N has further accused the top judge of being responsible for the attacks on state installations during the violent protests that took place following the arrest of Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case on Tuesday. During the two-day countrywide protests, nine people lost their lives, dozens were injured, public property was damaged, and military installations were stormed by rioters.
She added, “…[the CJP] is acting as a shield of fitna [rabble-rouser Imran Khan] and is pouring fuel on the fire in the country. You should leave the post of Chief Justice and join Tehreek-e-Insaf like your mother-in-law.”
In a statement on Twitter, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal referred to the crackdown on opposition leaders during the last PTI tenure, saying, “I wish this Supreme Court was there even during 2018-22!”
PML-N leader Hina Parvez Butt also condemned the verdict, saying, “It is highly condemnable to make someone who has damaged state buildings in the country and caused a loss of billions of rupees a guest of the Supreme Court.”
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Secretary General Nayyer Bukhari reacted to the Supreme Court’s verdict, calling for the country to bring Khan to justice and make an example out of him. He added, “The nation wants a ‘legal repair’ of criminals.”