Other PTI leaders, including several members of federal cabinet, indicted by Anti-Terrorism Court
An Anti-Terrorism Court on Thursday acquitted Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case related to the 2014 siege of Parliament and state-run PTV’s offices during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s dharna in Islamabad.
A few days earlier, Khan—through Abdullah Babar Awan, the son of Adviser to the P.M. on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan—had submitted a petition for his acquittal, which was supported by the government’s prosecutor—also working for the prime minister’s government. During proceedings, the prosecutor argued that the case was registered on “political grounds” and proceeding with it “would be a waste of the court’s time.”
“The prosecution has no objection if Imran Khan is acquitted,” said the lawyers. Prosecution lawyers are appointed by and take instruction from the sitting government. The previous prosecution team, under the PMLN government, had fought the case, but the PTI government has opted against it. The previous prosecution had submitted 65 photos, sticks and cutters to the court to establish its case.
Announcing the ruling, Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan also halted proceedings against President Arif Alvi, as he is protected from prosecution by virtue of his presidential office.
But while Khan and Alvi were granted reprieve, the court decided to indict other individuals named in the case, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Planning Minister Asad Umar, and PTI leaders Shaukat Yousafzai, Aleem Khan and Jahangir Khan Tareen. They have all been summoned to the next hearing of the case.
Tahirul Qadri, chief of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek that also participated in the dharna, has been declared fugitive in the case and is currently residing in Canada.
On Aug. 31, 2014, PTI and PAT workers had marched towards Parliament House and Prime Minister’s House and clashed with police deployed on Constitution Avenue. Police had invoked sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act against PTI leaders for inciting violence during their sit-in.