An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Islamabad on Friday acquitted Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in a 2014 case pertaining to the alleged torture of a police official.
In 2014, Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek 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.
During the Islamabad sit-in, then Senior Superintendent Police Islamabad Asmatullah Junejo was severely beaten up by a group of violent protesters on Constitution Avenue as they stormed the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters and the precincts of the Parliament on September 1, 2014. Subsequently, a case was registered against Khan, Qadri, and others for the torture of Junejo and five other police officers. Arrest warrants had also been issued against the two leaders.
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On Friday, the court in its brief ruling on an acquittal plea filed by Khan in the case ordered his acquittal. ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand said: "You are discharged from the case."
"Thanks a lot," Khan responded.
The court had reserved its verdict on April 13 after hearing arguments from both sides and set April 25 as the date for delivering the verdict. Khan, however, did not appear, so the court postponed the verdict to May 4.
In November 2017, ATC judge Shahrukh Arjuman granted bail to the PTI chief against surety bonds worth Rs200,000 in the case after he unexpectedly appeared before the court. Khan had previously been declared an absconder on November 14, 2014, for not appearing before the ATC.