ATC accepts Imran plea for exemption in PTV, Parliament attack cases

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday accepted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s plea seeking an exemption from appearance in PTV and Parliament attack cases.

The ATC resumed hearing the cases on Monday, during which the PTI chief submitted his plea seeking exemption from today’s proceedings.

In his plea submitted with the court, Imran stated that he is unable to appear before the court on account of important engagements, which the court accepted.

The pleas by other PTI leaders accused in the case were also accepted. These included Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Aijaz Chaudhry and others.

The hearing of the cases was later adjourned until April 25.

Earlier on February 23, the ATC turned down a petition filed by the PTI chief seeking exemption from appearance in the cases.

On February 15, Imran Khan’s legal counsel had submitted two pleas to the anti-terrorism court seeking acquittal and exemption from appearance. His legal counsel had pleaded the court to take up the acquittal plea before the indictment of his client

The PTI chief, who was issued summons on January 31, had appeared before the court at the last hearing. Judge Shahrukh Arjumand had heard the case regarding injuries sustained by SSP Asmatullah Junejo’s in an attack in the Red Zone during the PTI-led sit-in.

Imran had termed the cases ‘undemocratic,’ adding that holding a public gathering was not terrorism. The ATC judge had remarked that the cases will be handled according to law.

The cases

The anti-terrorism court is hearing four cases – attack on the state television building, Parliament and Junejo – against PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek leaders.

In August 2014, Khan and Tahirul Qadri took to streets in Islamabad against alleged rigging in 2013 general elections and Model Town sit-in. The protest had continued for 104 days.

During the sit-in, the protesters beat up SSP Asmatullah Junejo on Constitution Avenue when they attacked the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters and the parts of the Parliament.

A case had been filed against Khan, Qadri and others for torturing SSP Junejo and five other police officers.

The PTI chief had pleaded the court to transfer the cases to civil court, however, the request was rejected on December 11, 2017.