Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) on Saturday revoked the services of Geoffrey Robertson KC after receiving severe criticism in the media following the announcement that party Chairman Imran Khan had hired the British lawyer to represent him in international courts in cases related to “unlawful detention and human rights abuses”.
After suffering a backlash, PTI deleted the tweet within hours and terminated the services of the UK lawyer.
On September 1, Doughty Street International tweeted: “Former prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and PTI has appointed the eminent human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson KC of Doughty Street Chambers to advise and represent him in international courts in relation to unlawful detention and human rights abuses.”
PTI responded from its official X — formerly known as Twitter — account with confirmation that Roberston has been hired.
PTI announced: “PTI chairman, Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has appointed the eminent human rights Barrister Geoffrey Robertson KC of Doughty Street Chambers to advise and represent him in international courts in relation to unlawful detention and human rights abuses.”
A PTI source in Islamabad said that the decision to hire Robertson was taken by Khan on the advice of Omar Ayub Khan, Zulfi Bukhari and his lawyers in Pakistan after consulting “some important people in the UK”.
Khan’s adviser for international affairs Sayed Zulfi Bukhari quoted PTI’s tweet about hiring Robertson and said: “ Geoffrey Robertson KC is a world-renowned Human Rights lawyer and has represented many hundreds of people who have suffered human rights abuses including unlawful detention. He successfully represented President Lula da Silva of Brazil at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva for the human rights and legal abuses he suffered by a biased judiciary in Brazil. He enjoys a distinguished career as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and author of leading books on trials for human rights and Global Justice. IA soon the injustices will be exposed.”
PTI leader Shahbaz Gill said: “After getting disappointed from Chief Justice Bandial and his courts, now the case of our Captain will be fought in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), international lawyers have been engaged.”
Doughty Street Chambers said it has been told by PTI that Robertson’s services will not be required due to criticism in Pakistan.
A source at the Chambers said that Robertson held meetings with PTI leaders Omar Ayub Khan, Zulfi Bukhari and Khan’s lawyers before deciding to hire the UK lawyer to take Khan’s case to the United Nations. The source said that Robertson was paid in advance for his initial work on Khan’s case.
The chambers said it has deleted the engagement tweet on the request of PTI leaders. It said that the Chambers has over 500 lawyers in its panel and provides services on behalf of all lawyers who pay the chambers fees for their services.
As soon as PTI announced it had hired Robertson there was a lot of criticism in the media that the lawyer has been involved in campaigns against the Pakistani military and has been propagating false theories about the 1971 war and the breakup of Bangladesh from Pakistan.
Last week, PTI announced it has revoked engagements of 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.
PTI said that the party and its chairman “have no association/connection with the organisation HRLAF or Yaqoob. All communication and engagement, if any, with HRLAF or Mr Yaqoob or any person associated with them by or on behalf of PTI and it’s Chairman is hereby revoked. PTI wants the public at large to be aware that PTI/it’s 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 Chairman PTI’s or PTI’s behalf for any purpose, including international legal representation. PTI will engage any international legal representation in any matter when required only through its Secretary General”.
Geo News had revealed that former premier Khan had instructed England solicitor Yaqoob to seek legal recourse through the UN and international courts for his legal cases and also lobby the UN and international bodies to intervene on his behalf at the international and Pakistan level over the events that have followed the May 9 attacks on Pakistan army installations across.
Initially, PTI leaders condemned Yaqoob for launching a legal action but the evidence established that Yaqoob was indeed hired to act for Khan and raise funds for international legal aid to fight cases in UN and other forums and that Yaqoob was fully authorised with a bulletproof Letter of Instruction (LOI) on behalf of Khan and several further Letters of Instructions from PTI’s top leadership in Pakistan.