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ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday, challenged the acquittal of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in the case related to the torture of a senior superintendent of police, Asmatullah Junejo.

Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) Judge Shahrukh Arjumand on May 4 acquitted Imran Khan from the charges without putting him to trial.

Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri were booked in the case in September 2014. ATC had declared them absconders in November the same year. After being a proclaimed offender for about three years, the PTI chief formally surrendered before the trial court in October last year.

After obtaining pre-arrest bail, Mr Khan moved an application for acquittal in the same case and the court accepted his plea after a few hearings.

ATC’s order is against law, there is enough evidence to connect Imran Khan to the case, AG says

His acquittal was challenged in the Islamabad High Court, however, when the advocate general Islamabad filed an appeal against ATC’s order on Wednesday.

In his appeal, the AG said the PTI chairman is one of the prime accused in the torture case of SSP Junejo during police operations to push back protestors during the 2014 sit-in organised by him and Dr Qadri.

It alleges that Mr Khan’s involvement in the incident is obvious yet the court did not consider this when passing the judgement.

It also maintains that since Mr Khan was also named in the FIR for the incident, his acquittal is questioned.

It alleges that the judge did not take the gravity of the offence and its importance in consideration when handing down the verdict.

It added that the ATC has not exercised its jurisdiction judiciously and the reasons for acquittal are not in accordance with the law and that the “court below has exercised its jurisdiction illegally and un-lawfully”.

He said that sufficient documentary as well as visual evidence is available on record to connect the accused with the commission of the offence but the court did not consider the same while announcing the judgment.

In addition, he continued, statements of the eye witnesses recorded under section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code clearly speak of the role of the respondent but the court did not consider the cogent evidence which clearly connect the accused with the commission of the offence.

The petition says that the impugned order is not sustainable in the eyes of law and is liable to be set aside. He has prayed the court to set aside the order of May 4 in the best interests of justice.

On Sept 1, 2014 hundreds of men, allegedly protesters from the PTI and PAT camps, ransacked the PTV office, parliament premises and brutally beat up SSP Junejo, less than 24 hours into his first day as SSP operations. Mr Khan, Dr Qadri and several others were booked for their alleged involvement in the attacks.

On Aug 31, 2014, in an attempt to topple the PML-N government, PTI and the PAT workers had marched on parliament and Prime Minister House and clashed with policemen along the way.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2018

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