Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has enlisted the services of British barrister Geoffrey Robertson KC to represent him in international courts. This move comes as Imran Khan faces legal challenges related to his alleged “unlawful detention and human rights abuses.”
The announcement arrives at a critical juncture for the former Prime Minister, who was removed from office following a vote of no-confidence in April of last year. He is presently incarcerated in the Attock District jail due to his conviction on August 5 in the Toshakhana case.
Imran Khan’s conviction stemmed from his failure to declare gifts received during his time in office, resulting in a three-year prison sentence and a Rs100,000 fine. This rendered him ineligible to participate in upcoming elections. Although the Islamabad High Court overturned his conviction, he remains in custody due to his judicial remand in the cipher case until September 13. This case involves charges of revealing state secrets under the Official Secrets Act, brought against him by the Federal Investigation Agency.
The news of Imran Khan hiring the UK lawyer was disclosed by his political party, PTI, on Friday. PTI shared this announcement on its official X account, revealing that Geoffrey Robertson KC had previously represented high-profile figures such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and author Salman Rushdie.
The decision to engage Robertson was confirmed by PTI on its X account, sharing a screenshot of a post by the Doughty Street Chambers, a group 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,” read the post on X.
Meanwhile, the Doughty Street Chambers also shared the same announcement on its international X account.
In another post on X, PTI detailed Geoffrey Robertson KC’s career as a barrister, highlighting his extensive experience as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and the author of leading textbooks in the field of law.
However, Imran Khan’s decision to seek international legal representation has sparked criticism from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Attaullah Tarar. During a press conference in Lahore, Tarar argued that Khan’s move to go to the International Court is against the interests of the state and the country, citing incidents of alleged anti-nationalism during riots on May 9 involving Khan’s family.
Contrary to this, PTI leader and former minister Sayed Zulfi Bukhari defended the decision to hire Geoffrey Robertson KC. He cited Robertson’s successful representation of individuals who have suffered human rights abuses and highlighted his involvement in high-profile cases, including representing President Lula da Silva of Brazil at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva. Bukhari emphasized that Robertson’s distinguished career and expertise would shed light on injustices.
It’s worth noting that earlier reports had suggested that Imran Khan had engaged UK solicitor Rashad Yaqoob and his organization, Human Rights Legal Aid Foundation (HRLAF), along with Azhar Siddique, a Pakistan Supreme Court lawyer based in Manchester, to represent him internationally. However, PTI has denied any association or connection with HRLAF or Mr. Rashad Yaqoob.
Imran Khan’s decision to enlist the services of Geoffrey Robertson KC marks a significant turn in his ongoing legal battle, one that will undoubtedly draw international attention as he seeks redress for what he perceives as unlawful detention and human rights abuses.