ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Thursday confirmed pre-arrest bail to the central leadership of the PTI in Parliament House and PTV attack cases during the 2014 sit-ins.

ATC Judge Shahrukah Arjumand confirmed the pre-arrest bail to Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shafqat Mehmood, Arif Alvi and Raja Khurram Nawaz.

Meanwhile, the court absolved Dr Shireen Mazari of the charges as the investigation officer confirmed that though she was named in the FIR and her warrants were also issued, she was not named in the supplementary challan.

Ms Mazari was accused of leading a rally and providing weapons, including sticks, cutters, slingshots and axes, to the participants.

Prosecutor Shafqaat Chaudhry alleged that the PTI leaders were responsible for the death of three people during the sit-ins. He said the suspects had not only brought people from their areas but also supplied weapons to them.

When the prosecutor requested the court to dismiss the suspects’ bail application saying their custody was needed for further investigations, Ms Mazari stood from her seat slowly saying “have some fear of God, we are parliamentarians and they should know that.”

A counsel for the PTI informed the court that Imran Khan was already on bail and the rule of consistency applied on the petitioners in the instant cases.

As per the prosecution, the protest was not peaceful and the PTI’s leaders had come before the court for bail after a period of three years. He admitted that police should have arrested them earlier, adding the suspects were educated people but had violated the Constitution and incited people to topple the government.

He said three people were killed, 26 others injured while 60 were arrested, adding the prosecution had submitted 65 photos, sticks, cutters etc., to the court to establish its case.

The PTI’s counsel said “petitioners were out of court” if the prosecution could present one photo showing the petitioners actually attacking any building. He said the petitioners had been accused of provoking people but it was beyond comprehension what had to be recovered from them on charges of provocation.

On August 31, 2014, the PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers marched towards the Parliament House and Prime Minister House and clashed with the police deployed at the Constitution Avenue.

On September 1, 2014, hundreds of protesters, allegedly attending the PTI and PAT sit-ins, ransacked the PTV building, parliament premises and beat up the then SSP (operations) Islamabad Asmatullah Junejo.

Though Imran Khan and other mainstream party leadership obtained pre-arrest bail, the trial against them is still pending adjudication.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2018

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