ISLAMABAD: The anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday reserved its judgment on acquittal of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Parliament House and PTV attacks cases.

State prosecutor Shafqat Chaudhry had presented strong arguments against Mr Khan’s acquittal in the senior superintendent of police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo torture case before the PTI came to power. However, on Tuesday he did not oppose arguments of Imran Khan’s lawyer Dr Babar Awan.

In May 2018, the ATC acquitted Mr Khan in the SSP torture case.

The court will announce the reserved verdict in the Parliament House and PTV attacks cases on Dec 5.

State prosecutor says before court that cases were politically motivated

After the court proceedings, when Mr Awan was asked why the prosecutor did not oppose the acquittal as he had done in the previous case, he said: “The prosecutor might have read out the verdict of that case and therefore he preferred not to oppose the acquittal.”

During the hearing, the prosecutor termed cases against Mr Khan politically motivated and said the prosecution had no objection if he was acquitted.

He said these cases would serve no purpose except wasting precious time of the court.

The prosecutor termed it an irony that the cases were registered against those parties whose political workers had died in violence during the protest sit-in.

Mr Awan argued before the court that the police could invoke Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) against participants of a sit-in but registering a terrorism case against politicians was an unlawful act.

He said the law was very clear as it categorically stated that political activities could not be termed an act of terrorism but Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 was invoked against politicians in order to justify the killing of seven workers during the 2014 sit-in.

Police had invoked the ATA against PTI chief Imran Khan and its leaders Dr Arif Alvi, Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shafqat Mehmood, Ejaz Chaudhry and others for inciting violence during the sit-in.

As per the earlier stance of the prosecution, three people were killed and 26 injured while 60 were arrested. The prosecution had submitted 65 photos, sticks, cutters, etc, to the court to establish its case.

The prosecution was earlier of the view that the protest was not peaceful.

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

Talking to the media, Mr Awan said Imran Khan was the only prime minister in Pakistan’s history who was fighting cases in the ATC as well as in the apex court.

He said the PTI government did not register even a single case against the recent political power show of JUI-F in the capital.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2019