PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday told the Supreme Court in the contempt proceedings against him that the he had decided to protest at Islamabad’s D-Chowk before its May 25 verdict on the matter.
“My party leaders and I were under immense pressure since May 24 because of the atrocities carried out against us and our activists by the government,” he added.
He was responding to the interior ministry’s submission to the court that the PTI chief had lied about not being aware of the top court’s orders that the party could stage its long march in the federal capital's sectors H-9 and G-9.
A five-member SC bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, resumed the hearing of the contempt case.
The interior ministry informed the court that “factual assertions” made by the PTI chief about the presence of jammers were “incorrect” and “wholly inaccurate” as it submitted to the SC live videos, messages, calls, feeds on social media, tweets etc from the official accounts of the party’s senior leadership.
It added that these social media activities showed that the PTI chief and his leaders were well-aware of the court orders.
“It is evident that false and incorrect statements have been made before the court by [Imran] Khan as he and his party willfully, intentionally and in contemptuous disregard of the order, engaged in urging and leading the supporters and workers to reach D-Chowk, inter alia, causing loss of property and violating fundamental rights of the public at large,” the ministry wrote.
In response, the PTI chief told the court that his party’s social media activities were under way from various places during his “Azadi March” — urging supporters to reach Islamabad’s D-Chowk.
He added that his party was compelled to use social media because the government had banned the electronic media from giving coverage to his march.
Imran reiterated that he had already informed the court that he was unaware of the court’s orders because he was unable to communicate with his lawyers.
He added that the court had ordered the administration that a meeting should be arranged between him and his lawyers but it was never followed.
The PTI chief said he had never claimed that he could not communicate because of the presence of jammers.
The interior ministry told the court that on the morning of May 25, the PTI through its official social media account had asked its supporters to gather at D-Chowk.
PTI leaders Faisal Javed, Shireen Mazari and Manza Hasan had also tweeted, urging activists and supporters to gather at D-Chowk.
The ministry further informed the court that Imran's claim that party leader Asad Umar was instructed to reach H-9 Ground was contrary to the facts.
In fact, it added that on the afternoon of May 2, Imran had expressed his determination to reach D-Chowk in his two speeches made from the container.
The ministry said both the speeches were played live on PTI's official account. Therefore, the party's claim of installing jammers was contrary to the facts.