By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, March 11 (SocialNews.XYZ) The legal challenges posed for former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan are not only limited to him but also extend to the top leadership of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party as well.
While Khan is facing at least 76 legal cases currently, many of which may result in his disqualification and failure to contest the upcoming general election in the country, top party leaders including former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry, former finance ministers Hammad Azhar, Asad Umar and Shauqat Tareen and the recently appointed PTI president Chaudhry Pervez Elahi are also facing cases.
The legal course of action taken by the incumbent government is aimed at shrinking the intensity of the PTI's anti-government campaign and engage them in legal cases, similar or equivalent to the kind of cases, that were registered against other party leaders of opposition political parties including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People Party (PPP).
"The intention behind cases of hate speech, incitement to violence and provocation to spread negative notions against the state institutions, lodged in different police stations spread across the country seems to be an attempt to divert the focus of the PTI anti-government campaign at large", said Irfan Ashraf, a political analyst.
"We have seen senior leaders of PTI like Shahbaz Gill, Azam Swati and former Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed being transported from city to city under police custody to appear before courts in cases of similar nature against them. This has most certainly damaged the PTI leadership's efforts to lead their supporters and stage big anti-government public uproar," he added.
However, others believe that the government, by keeping top PTI leadership in legal battles and court hearings, has certainly weakened the intensity and influence of the party's public rallies.
"It would not be wrong to say that the prime reason why Khan's long marches failed was because all of his top leadership would be sitting with him in Peshawar or in Islamabad, while the supporters were left to manage themselves without anyone leading them ahead", said Rizwan Razi, a senior political analyst.
"And because PTI supporters were leaderless during their long marches, they failed to pressure the government. This is why today, the government is making sure that they register each and every single case against the PTI leadership and keep them busy saving their necks from being put behind bars instead of leading the anti-government campaign with focus and attention."
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