Pakistan political candidate abducted outside courthouse by armed assailants – JURIST

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Unknown assailants abducted Khayal Ahmad Kastro, former Punjab provincial minister and election candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), outside a local court in Pakistan Friday where he sought bail for a May 9 case according to video released by PTI.

The video appears to show several men, including one man with a rifle, put Khayal in a car and transfer him to an unknown place. Omar Ayub Khan, PTI Secretary General and ex federal minister, strongly condemned the behavior, saying, “There is no justice or rule of law in Pakistan. There is no level playing field.”

Khayal is running in the 2024 general elections as an independent candidate supported by PTI from PP-118 Faisalabad. On May 9 2023, Pakistan police arrested him due to several investigations into abuse of power, corruption and scams in contracts. The allegations against Khayal were registered under Pakistan Penal Code Sections 290 “Punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for”and 291 “Continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue,” as well as the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960.

PTI is led by former prime minister Imran Khan, using a bat as its election symbol. Pakistan authorities arrested Khan outside of the Islamabad courts in May 2023 and detained the party’s vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi three months later. Khan claimed that it was part of the “London Plan” from the ruling government to crush the party. Although the Pakistan Supreme Court granted bail to Khan last December, PTI’s election symbol was ultimately deprived by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), whose decision was upheld by the supreme court.

This was not the only incident against PTI candidates amid the 2024 general election. On January 13, Barrister Waseem Baduzi, former MPA and PTI election candidate from Multan PP-214, was taken away by unknown persons after reaching the returning officer’s (RO) office in Multan for the submission of his ticket.

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