LONDON: According to a Tuesday investigation by Geo News, Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and a former prime minister, gave British attorney Rashad Yaqoob instructions to pursue legal action through international courts and the United Nations (UN) for his cases.
According to the evidence, Yaqoob has also been given instructions to urge the UN and other international organizations to act on his behalf both internationally and domestically over the developments following the horrific militant strikes on Pakistan Army sites on May 9.
According to the evidence, Rashad Yaqoob, CEO of the Human Rights Legal Aid Foundation (HRLAF), was given highly confidential instructions to approach the UN and raise money for the legal work in order to hire renowned English lawyers to represent Imran Khan’s cases before the UN Human Rights Council, the UN, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and other international forums.
The directives also called for drawing attention to the arrests of numerous important PTI leaders in connection with the attacks of May 9. Sanam Javed, Dr. Yasmin Rashid, and Khadijah Shah are a few among them.
Investigations by Geo News have shown that HRLAF has been legally working with a sizable number of clients, starting with Imran Khan, and that multiple petitions have already been sent to the UN, the Parliamentary Union, and other quasi-judicial authorities.
Famous human rights attorneys including Michael Mansfield, KC, Gareth Pierce, and Ben Emerson, KC, were appointed as per the directives to represent Imran Khan and others for alleged excesses by Pakistani institutions, especially the secret agencies. It is thought that the UK legal team is also looking at potential actions under universal jurisdiction.
On the weekend, PTI leaders, including PTI UK leaders, Sher Afzal Marwat, Zulfi Bukhari, Naeem Panjhota and others, criticised Rashad Yaqoob for launching a legal action and fundraising campaign for Imran Khan and taking his case to the UN through British lawyers.
However, our study shows that Rashad Yaqoob, the CEO of HRLAF, received complete authorization and a Letter of Instruction (LOI) on behalf of Imran Khan and other prominent Pakistani figures. Rahsad Yaqoob scrupulously adhered to the pertinent legal procedures necessary for solicitors practicing in the UK.
The directives were delivered by at least three male and two female PTI leaders from Pakistan who are said to be highly close to Imran Khan and who are working on his behalf. They all acknowledged their participation but asked for anonymity because they feared for their safety if their identities were made public.
A letter of authorization signed by senior Supreme Court advocate Azher Siddique on August 5, 2023, certifying that he had issued a Letter of Instruction with the subject matter, has been completed by Geo News as part of its independent analysis of correspondence.
“Unlawful arrest and conviction of Ex-PM Hon. Imran Khan-Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf -Instruction for International Litigation assistance”
Siddique, who is currently located in the UK, acknowledged in the letter that “I am employed by Mr. Imran Khan, Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on several criminal defense matters in Pakistan. I certify that I am authorized to speak for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) and Imran Khan personally.
He sent Rashad Yaqoob, the CEO of HRLAF, the following instructions: “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.”
According to records, HRLAF and Siddique met multiple times in Lincoln’s Inn and the UK Parliament, and photos of these meetings were made public. Azhar Siddique has been acting for Imran Khan and on his behalf, as well as for Farah Gogi, Bushra Bibi’s closest friend.
In their communication, HRLAF suggested setting up a fact-finding team to travel to Pakistan and observe firsthand the present detention settings and legal proceedings for Imran Khan and his allies.
As a personal commitment to Khan’s defense and right to a fair trial, Yaqoob stated that “HRLAF would carry the costs of the litigation or obtain pro-bono assistance from his team, up to the fund launch.”
An argument broke out over the weekend when Rashad Yaqoob was threatened with legal action by Imran Khan’s lawyers Naeem Panjhota, Zulfi Bukhari, and other leaders and claimed he was unrelated to Imran’s legal efforts. They also suggested dismissing any instructions to represent Imran Khan and any authorization to raise money for legal action.
The PTI leader’s legal assistant, Naeem Haider Panjutha, claimed that neither Khan nor anyone else was authorized to gather money for his legal team.
نقالوں اور نوسربازوں سے ہوشیار رہیں۔ https://t.co/XWsB1iuaj1— Ali Ijaz Buttar (@aliijazbuttar) August 18, 2023
“Beware, none of @ImranKhanPTI’s authorized legal team members have received such instructions from him. It is also made clear that Imran Khan has not given anyone permission to raise money for this purpose. Therefore, it is made clear and stated that no one shall provide financial support for Imran Khan’s legal battles, whether they take place at the national or international levels. Therefore, kindly refrain,” he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
According to Zulfi Bukhari, PTI and HRLAF have not made any agreements. He declared, “Let me be really clear! So yet, neither Imran Khan nor PTI have ever appointed or ordered a legal team. Nobody has a mandate from him or the party, either. PTI has no connection to either the organization or the fundraising efforts associated with it.
Yaqoob’s response to questions regarding these accusations was, “I would never act without having legal instructions as all legal procedures required in the UK are met. I take these unfounded claims extremely seriously. I’m furious that these careless people want to make it more difficult for Khan and his other clients to get their cases heard in foreign courts.
“I would be using cease-and-desist letters from my panel attorneys and giving these people one last chance to recant and apologize. These people have no idea what they are toying with; this is a really serious matter.
According to Rashad Yaqoob, he founded HRLAF in 1999 to offer legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse in Yemen, Bosnia, Chechnya, Syria, Palestine, and Europe.
When Senator Waqar Khan, a former minister for investments in Pakistan, and his family were involved in a protracted legal dispute with Deutsche Bank (Suisse) over the alleged unlawful repossession of more than £150 million in property in Knightsbridge and Billionaires Row, the lawyer served as the head of their International Dispute Resolution legal team. Additionally, he has represented Kuwait Finance, Gulf Finance House, and Qatar Islamic Bank.
SOURCE: GEO NEWS