UN chief wants Imran’s situation to change ‘in a much more positive way’: spokesperson

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PTI optimistic about 'release of Imran Khan this month'

ISLAMABAD, JUL 3: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants to see PTI founder Imran Khan’s current situation “evolve in a much more positive way”, according to his spokesperson.

Imran is serving out his sentence in the Iddat case at Adiala Jail. His sentences in two Toshakhana cases against him were suspended while the Islamabad High Court acquitted him in the cipher case.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention — which has the mandate to investigate cases of deprivation of liberty by governments — had on Monday said the cases against Imran were “without legal basis” and politically motivated to exclude him from the political arena.

The panel said that the appropriate remedy would be to release and compensate the former prime minister. This was the second disapproval at the international level of the government’s action against PTI and its incarcerated foun­der within a week after the passage of a US resolution last week calling upon Pakis­tan to thoroughly probe the allegation of irregularities in the February 8 elections.

The government and its allies on Tuesday rejected the recommendations of the UN working group regarding Imran’s detention and termed it a conspiracy against the institutions.

Questioned in a press conference a day ago on whether the UN chief supported the group’s recommendation to immediately release the PTI founder, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said: “It’s a recommendation from an independent panel.

“We want to see the current political situation, the current situation of Mr Khan, evolve in a much more positive way.”

‘Internal matter’
In a statement on Tuesday, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar had rebuffed the working group’s recommendations — which are legally non-binding — and said the former premier’s detention was an “internal matter”.

He added that courts took legal action against the PTI founder in light of the Constitution and prevailing laws.

“The PTI founder is entitled to all rights under the Constitution and laws, as well as international principles,” Tarar had said, adding that the ex-premier was currently in jail as a convicted prisoner.