ATC acquits PM Imran in Parliament House attack case

Updated 30 Oct 2020

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Prime Minister Imran Khan has been acquitted in the  Parliament House attack case.— AFP/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan has been acquitted in the Parliament House attack case.— AFP/File

An Islamabad anti-terrorism court on Thursday acquitted Prime Minister Imran Khan in the 2014 Parliament House attack case.

The verdict was announced by ATC Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan. The court also decided that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood and Planning Minister Asad Umar — who have been summoned at the next hearing on Nov 12 — will be indicted.

Provincial ministers Aleem Khan and Shaukat Yousafzai as well as PTI's former secretary general Jahangir Tareen have also been summoned at the next hearing.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) worker Mubashir Ali was also acquitted in the case while the party's chairman, Tahirul Qadri, was declared a fugitive.

On Aug 31, 2014, PTI and PAT workers had marched towards Parliament House and Prime Minister House and clashed with police deployed on Constitution Avenue.

Earlier this week, the premier had urged the court acquit him as the prosecution was no longer interested in pursuing the case. Through his lawyer, Abdullah Babar Awan, the son of Adviser to the PM on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, he had informed the court that the “prosecution stands in favour of [his] acquittal”.

Prosecution lawyers are appointed by and take ins­t­ructions from the sitting government. The then prosecution team under the PML-N government had fou­ght the Parliament House attack case but with a new team under the PTI government, the situation has changed.

The application stated that “the prosecution was not interested to prosecute the applicant [Imran Khan]".

"The learned prosecutor appearing for the other side is heard and the learned prosecutor candidly conceded that in this false case the charge against the petitioner is groundless and there is no probability of the conviction and therefore, the learned prosecutor agreed that this is a fit case for acquittal.”

It further stated: “The applicant is maliciously implicated and dragged in this false case. Further proceedings shall cause harassment and political victimisation. Particularly, after the prosecution stands in favour of the acquittal of the applicant.”

According to the counsel, not a single witness of the prosecution had linked Imran Khan with the offence, adding that there was no direct or indirect evidence available on record against the prime minister.

Police on Aug 31, 2014 had invoked sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act against Imran and other leaders including the incumbent president Dr Arif Alvi, federal ministers Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Shafqat Mahmood 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 and cutters to the court to establish its case.