ISLAMABAD: Following in the footsteps of his political rival Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan finally surrendered to the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in four cases registered against him during the sit-ins of 2014.
The ATC had declared Mr Khan a proclaimed offender and issued non-bailable warrants for his arrest in November 2015.
Besides Mr Khan, 28 other leaders of the PTI were also wanted in the cases related to attacks on Parliament House, Pakistan Television (PTV) building, former senior superintendent of police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo and violence on August 31, 2015.
The PTI chief along with his close aide Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Jahangir Khan Tareen, Shireen Mazari, Asad Umar, Aleem Khan and others had been absconding for the last two years.
A member of PTI’s legal team told Dawn that the rest of the leaders nominated in the four FIRs would also surrender before the ATC soon.
The court withdraws his arrest warrants and grants him interim pre-arrest bail
The PTI chief was facing criticism from PML-N after ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar joined the trial proceedings related to the references against them in the accountability court located in the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) that also housed the ATC.
A legal aide to the PTI chief said at a meeting held on October 16, Dr Babar Awan, Fawad Chaudhry and Faisal Chaudhry had advised Mr Khan to surrender before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
It was also decided at that meeting that Mr Khan and other leaders of the PTI would pursue the cases in the ATC.
The PTI leadership were avoiding the ATC, alleging that the FIRs were registered against them for political reasons.
Mr Khan surrendered to the ATC at a time when the court had started the process to confiscate his movable and immovable properties.
However, after the surrender of the PTI chief, the court withdrew his arrest warrants. It also granted pre-arrest interim bail to the PTI chief and adjourned further proceeding to Nov 24.
The ATC directed him to submit surety bonds of Rs200,000 for each of the four cases. The court also directed the accused to join the investigation in the cases.
In July this year, the ATC had ordered the chief commissioner and the inspector general of the Islamabad police to submit details of movable and immovable properties of Mr Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek Chairman Tahirul Qadri since they were absconders in the case related to the attack on the former SSP.
The court had earlier directed the station house officer (SHO) of the Secretariat police to submit the details of properties of the suspects.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2017