27 February 2023
By Hania Khan
Former judge of the Lahore High Court, Justice (Retired) Nasira Javed Iqbal, has criticized the recent Jail Bharo Tehreek (Court Arrest Drive) initiated by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which aims to fill jails with party members in order to protest the “violation of fundamental rights”, “abuse of the Constitution”, “unprecedented inflation”, and “economic meltdown”. However she criticized PTI Chairman Imran Khan, who she claimed is getting bail before arrest, while encouraging others to get arrested.
“The leader of the Tehreek-e-Insaf is sitting at home and getting bail before arrest in the pending cases while the rest of the people are being sent to jail,” she said
In a special conversation with Voicepk.net, the senior jurist gave the opinion that the movement is counterproductive and is a waste of resources.
“This is the time to prepare for the elections and not to fill the jail.”
Despite her opposition to the movement, Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal’s son, Walid Iqbal, who is a senator of PTI, was among those arrested during the first phase of the operation on February 22 in Lahore.
Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal revealed that she had warned her son not to get involved in the movement, but he went ahead and was subsequently arrested.
PTI supporters were making parallels with Mahatma Gandhi’s Jail Bharo Tehreek. Upon such a comparison, Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal drew attention to the leadership qualities of Mahatma Gandhi, citing that
“Gandhi was the first to go to jail during the Jail Bharo Tehreek in India.”
She also expressed her confusion regarding the PTI’s goal in filling jails, saying, “It is beyond my understanding what goals PTI wants to achieve by filling the jail.”
Many PTI workers were arrested iln Lahore, and the police initially transferred them to Kot Lakhpat Jail. However, due to a lack of space, the police transferred the captured political leaders to distant jails in Punjab the next day.
Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal, who is also the daughter-in-law of Pakistan’s national poet Allama Iqbal and former President of Lahore High Court Bar, said that she would not file a bail application for her son, as he had gotten arrested himself, despite her advising him against it.
She added, “If something has been done, then it should also be faced.”
The Jail Bharo Tehreek has been met with criticism from various quarters, with many arguing that it is a misguided and counterproductive form of political protest that serves no real purpose.
Currently, 200 PTI party members have given their arrest across the country.