• Prosecution is not interested in prosecuting PM, court told • ATC to indict ministers, Tareen • Proceedings against Alvi deferred due to immunity

ISLAMABAD: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Islamabad on Thursday acquitted Prime Minister Imran Khan in the case related to the attack on Parliament House during the sit-in in the federal capital in 2014.

However, ATC judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan summoned federal ministers Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Shafqat Mehmood and Pervez Khattak, provincial minister Aleem Khan, Jahangir Tareen and other accused to indict them on Nov 12.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri is an absconder in the case.

The court also acquitted PAT leader Mubashir Ali in the case, adds APP.

The court separated the trial of President Dr Arif Alvi because of the presidential immunity he enjoys and put off further proceedings against him till the expiry of his term of office.

Under Article 248(2) of the Constitution “No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or a Governor in any Court during his term of office”.

Earlier this week, Abdullah Babar Awan, the counsel for PM Khan, had submitted an application to the ATC, stating that since none of the witnesses had testified against his client, it would be tantamount to wasting the court’s precious time if the trial proceeding against him would continue.

The application stated: “The prosecution is not interested in prosecuting the applicant [Imran]. The learned prosecutor appearing for the other side is heard and … candidly conceded that in this false case the charge against the petitioner is groundless and there is no probability of the conviction and therefore … 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 has linked Mr Khan with the offence and there is no direct or indirect evidence available on record against him.

Mr Awan said the case was politically motivated with no evidence, therefore there was no probability of conviction of Mr Khan.

The case is related to violence that took place during the sit-in jointly organised by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in Islamabad to protest against alleged rigging in 2013 general elections.

Police on Aug 31, 2014 had invoked sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act in an FIR against Imran Khan and other PTI leaders, including the incumbent president Dr Arif Alvi, federal ministers Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Shafqat Mahmood, as well as the PAT leaders for inciting violence during the sit-in.

According to the prosecution, three people were killed and 26 injured while 60 were arrested during the violence. The prosecution has submitted 65 photos, sticks and cutters to the court to establish its case.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2020