ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Sunday expressed concern after an Egyptian court sentenced the deposed president Mohamed Morsi to death for his role in a mass jailbreak in 2011.
“Sentencing of deposed President Morsi to death bodes ill for the Egyptian people and for Egyptian democracy,” Imran said in a message posted on micro-blogging website Twitter.
Comparing Morsi’s sentence to the hanging of former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1979, the PTI chairman called on Egypt to “learn from Pakistan’s bitter experience”. “Pakistan has suffered tremendously as a result of the hanging of its democratic leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto by a military dictator”, he added.
“The Pakistani nation and democracy in Pakistan continue to suffer the fallout from Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hanging as the Pakistani polity stands polarised and militarised even today,” he was quoted as saying in a press statement issued by the PTI.
Imran said that sentencing democratically elected leaders to death “does not kill their ideas and aspirations”. “Ideas that bring leaders to power through the ballot box cannot be obliterated through deposing them undemocratically and then sentencing them to death. The only real battle of ideas is fought through the ballot box by winning the support of the people,” he said.
Imran’s wife, journalist Reham Khan, also took to Twitter to criticize the Egyptian court’s decision and slammed the leaders of Islamic countries on their silence over the sentence.
“And the silence continues as we see headlines of Morsi’s death sentence. Wonder where the Islamic brethren are today?,” she said in a tweet sent minutes before Imran’s statement.
Morsi – already punished to 20 years imprisonment for inciting violence was sentenced to death on Saturday along with over 100 other people for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising.
Egyptian judge Shabaan El-Shamy handed down the same sentence to more than 100 other defendants including Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badei, already sentenced to death in another trial, and his deputy Khairat al-Shater.
Elected president in 2012 as the Brotherhood candidate, Morsi ruled for only a year before mass protests spurred the military to overthrow him in July 2013. He was among dozens of leaders detained amid a crackdown that left hundreds of Morsi supporters dead. Saturday’s death sentence has received criticism by rights groups and foreign governments.
Lashing out at the verdict, Amnesty International said the court ruling reflected “the deplorable state of the country’s criminal justice system”. The United States has also expressed “deep concern” over the ruling, criticizing the country’s mass trials and sentences “which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt’s international obligations and the rule of law.”