ISLAMABAD : An anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on Thursday postponed the announcement of its reserved verdict till December 12 in an application seeking the acquittal of Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case related to the 2014 attacks on Parliament House and Pakistan Television (PTV) during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) sit-in.
ATC judge Raja Javad Abbas remarked that several other persons had filed their applications seeking acquittal in the same case, and it was not possible to announce the verdict just for PM Imran Khan while leaving others.
The judge further stated that other accused persons including Ejaz Chaudhry, Asad Umar, and Jahangir Tareen have withdrawn their applications, and even arrest warrants were issued for several accused individuals in their absence.
“This case pertains to hundreds of [political] workers and many of them are being represented by Faisal Chaudhry,” he added.
To these remarks, PM Imran’s lawyer Babar Awan pleaded with the court to hear arguments on behalf of those persons who were appearing in the courtroom for their acquittal.
In the previous hearing, Government lawyer Chaudhry Shafqaat did not object to the acquittal of the premier in the case, and subsequently the court reserved its verdict.
“We have no objection if Imran Khan is acquitted in the case,” Shafqaat had said, adding: “These cases are made on a political basis. Nothing will come of these cases, only the court’s time will be wasted.”
Awan had also presented arguments in favour of the application and said that terrorism provisions could not be added for a speech made during the sit-in or for opposing Section 144 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC).
Previously, various leaders including Prime Minister Imran, President Dr Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and others were exempted from personal attendance in case proceedings.
On Aug 31, 2014, PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers marched towards the Parliament House and Prime Minister House and clashed with police deployed at Constitution Avenue.
Police later invoked the anti-terrorism act against then PTI chief Imran and party leaders including President Alvi, Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shafqat Mehmood and Raja Khurram Nawaz for inciting violence during the 2014 sit-in.
After hearing the arguments of the parties in the case, the court had reserved its verdict on the application seeking the acquittal of Prime Minister Imran Khan.