- Lawyers Rashad Yaqoob, Azhar Siddique yet to comment on decision.
- “Imran Khan or PTI have no connection with HRLAF or Yaqoob.”
- PTI says it will engage international legal representation if needed.
LONDON: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) announced on Thursday that it had revoked engagements of lawyers in the United Kingdom who were initially instructed to act on behalf of former prime minister Imran Khan and take his case to the United Nations and other international courts.
After an exclusive investigation of Geo News revealed full details of the international legal engagement by the former prime minister and some of his aides, the PTI said it has revoked legal engagements with UK solicitor Rashad Yaqoob, his organisation Human Rights Legal Aid Foundation (HRLAF) and Azhar Siddique, the Pakistan Supreme Court lawyer who is now based in Manchester.
The former ruling party said that the PTI and its Chairman Imran Khan “have no association/connection with the organisation HRLAF or Mr Rashad Yaqoob”.
“All communication and engagement, if any, with HRLAF or Mr Yaqoob or any person associated with them by or on behalf of the PTI and its chairman is hereby revoked. The PTI wants the public at large to be aware that the PTI/its chairman does not maintain any link or association with this organisation or person or anyone associated with them nor are in any talks with them, and that no one, including Mr Azhar Siddique, is allowed to appoint any person or organisation on the chairman PTI’s or PTI’s behalf for any purpose, including international legal representation,” the party said. It added that PTI will engage international legal representation if needed in any matter only through the party secretary general.
Geo News had revealed that the former prime minister, who was removed from power via a vote of no-confidence in April last year, had instructed Yaqoob to seek legal recourse through the UN and international courts for his cases. It was also revealed that the lawyers were instructed to lobby with the UN and international bodies to intervene on his behalf at the international and Pakistan levels over the events that followed after the May 9 attacks on army installations across the country.
The instructions to approach the UN were passed in the most confidential manner to HRLAF CEO to hire leading English lawyers to take Khan’s cases to the United Nations, UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and other international forums, according to the evidence.
Initially, PTI leaders condemned Yaqoob for launching legal action but the evidence established that the lawyer was indeed hired to act for Khan and raise funds for international legal aid to fight cases in the UN and other forums. It was also revealed that Yaqoob was fully authorised with a bulletproof letter of instruction (LoI) on behalf of Khan and several other such documents from the PTI’s top leadership in Pakistan.
A letter, obtained by Geo News, said that Siddique was “retained” by the PTI chief on multiple criminal defence matters in Pakistan to represent the former prime minister.
The letter also showed instructions given to HRLAF’s Yaqoob “to initiate immediate and urgent international litigation to protect and defend the rights of Mr Khan, who has been arbitrarily convicted, arrested and detained following his recent trial in Islamabad”.
Yaqoob and Siddique did not comment on the PTI’s decision regarding the revocation of their services.