'I'm sadiq and ameen, not a terrorist': Imran secures bail in 2014 PTV attack cases

Updated 02 Jan 2018


PTI Chief Imran Khan speaks to the media after ATC grants him bail.—DawnNews
PTI Chief Imran Khan speaks to the media after ATC grants him bail.—DawnNews

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Tuesday accepted Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran's bail appeal in all four cases regarding an attack on Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters in 2014.

ATC judge Shahrukh Arjumand, hearing Khan's appeal, granted him bail.

"The decision proves that I am sadiq (truthful) and ameen (righteous), not a terrorist," Imran Khan told the media outside the court after the ruling.

"I am a ladla [darling] of the law because I abide by it," said the PTI chief, taking another opportunity to aim at Nawaz Sharif and his "lack of transparency". "Nawaz Sharif could not have withstood half of the scrutiny that I went through," Khan added, referring to the trial against him in the Supreme Court in which he was acquitted last year.

"There are cases against me because I am holding them [Sharifs] accountable," he claimed, adding, "I've never stolen anything in my life."

The PTI leader is one of the accused in the four cases related to the 2014 attack that took place during the party's dharna in the capital. Khan, in December 2017, had moved the court for the case to be transferred to a civil court, but his request had been turned down.

Later, on Twitter, Khan reiterated that he was "not a terrorist" and was going to go after "the crooks".

'Inciting violence'

During Tuesday's hearing, Khan's lawyer Babar Awan had tried to convince the court that PTI chief should not be named in the case, arguing that he was not named in the statements by the police officials that were attacked by the protesters back in 2014.

PTI Chief Imran Khan arrives at the ATC on Tuesday.—DawnNews
PTI Chief Imran Khan arrives at the ATC on Tuesday.—DawnNews

Awan told the court that 11 witnesses had recorded their statements regarding the attack on Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo and Constable Sajjad Ahmed, arguing that the officials had not specifically named Imran Khan. He also read out the first information report and the statements of the SSP and constable in court.

The state prosecutor rejected Awan's arguments, saying that Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri had incited violence during the protests, that ultimately led to the attack on PTV, SSP Junejo and Constable Ahmed. He was rebuked by Khan, who spoke up during the prosecutor's arguments, saying that the claim was a lie.

The prosecutor, however, said that he had recordings of the speeches given by Khan during the protests as well as pictures of the PTV attack. He then showed the pictures to the courtroom.

Awan responded that Khan's protest was not to spread violence but to provide awareness to the public.

When the judge asked whether any of the PTV attackers, who had been identified from CCTV footage obtained from the state television headquarters, were arrested, police officials responded in the negative.

The state lawyer added that Imran Khan only surrendered and appeared in court after the ATC ordered authorities to seize his assets and issued arrest warrants against him.

Attack on PTV office

In 2014, Khan and PAT Chairman Tahirul Qadri staged a major rally in Islamabad against alleged rigging in the 2013 election and the Model Town tragedy, which had seen as many as 14 people killed and 100 others injured when police attacked Qadri's residence during an 'anti-encroachment' operation.

Khan had threatened to shut down the entire country in what was perceived as a bid to topple the government. The protest had continued for a record 104 days.

On Sept 1, 2014, while the sit-in was still ongoing, SSP Junejo and five other police officers had been beaten up by protesters on Constitution Avenue as they stormed the PTV headquarters and the precincts of the Parliament.

Hundreds of PTI and PAT supporters led by their leaders had briefly seized the state broadcaster on Sept 1, 2014, at a time when the country was under intense political crisis.

The protesters had disrupted transmission of PTV news channel and PTV World for a short period of time. The buildings were later cleared by personnel of the Pakistan Army.

A case had been registered against Khan, Qadri, and others for torturing SSP Junejo and the other police officers. Both leaders had been declared proclaimed offenders and arrest warrants were issued against them.

The ATC had declared Khan a proclaimed offender and issued non-bailable warrants for his arrest in November 2015.

In November 2017, the PTI chief had finally surrendered before the ATC in four cases regarding the 2014 sit-ins after the court ordered confiscation of his movable and immovable assets.

After the surrender, the court had withdrawn his arrest warrants and granted pre-arrest interim bail to the PTI chief.