News Analysis |
The anti-terrorism court (ATC) has issued a warning against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan that if he fails to appear in the next hearing on the case against torture of SSP Asmatullah Junejo during the 2014 sit-in, the court will issue warrants for his arrest.Today, PTI chairman did not appear in the court and Imran’s counsel submitted a request to grant him exemption from today’s hearing.
During the hearing, the prosecution had questioned the absence of Imran Khan and asked the judge that was it possible to read the judgment in the absence of the alleged culprit? On objection of the prosecution, ATC judge Shahrukh Arjumand summoned Khan to the court and said that Khan should be in the court as verdict would be announced in presence of the accused.But, due to Imran’s no-show, Judge had to adjourn the verdict on Imran’s acquittal plea to May 4.
PTI leadership condemned the attacks on government buildings and claimed that the protesters were not from his party.
On April 10, the court had reserved its verdict on the acquittal plea by Khan after hearing arguments from prosecution and defense in a case regarding torture on the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo allegedly by the PTI workers during the 2014 sit-in in Islamabad.
Imran has denied this violent attack on the institutions and his plea to transfer the cases to civil court was rejected in December last year.Though, initially, Khan did not appear in the court, despite the issuance of non-bailable warrants, he was not arrested. He nevertheless, had to surrender, after the ATC ordered to seize his assets.
On November 14, Khan was given the bail, and which was later extended. On February 15, he submitted an appeal seeking acquittal and exemption from appearance.On February 23, ATC turned down the plea. PTI chief’s counsel Babar Awan attempted to reassure the court that Khan is not a terrorist and refused to take any responsibility for these attacks.
Today, PTI chairman did not appear in the court and Imran’s counsel submitted a request to grant him exemption from today’s hearing.
In 2014, PTI along with Tahirul Qadri demonstrated against the PML-N government over the against alleged rigging in 2013 general elections and Model Town killings, for 104 days.
At the climax of this long sit-in, protestors had allegedly beaten up the SSP Asmatullah Junejo on Constitution Avenue. The protest which remained calm for a prolonged period of time apparently turned violent and it ended up attacking the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters and the parts of the Parliament.
Following these unpleasant scenes in the Federal Capital, cases were registered against the Imran Khan and Qadri along with other prominent party leaders.PTI Chief Imran Khan and other senior leaders including Asad Umer, Shafqat Mehmood, Shaukat Yousafzai and Chief Minister (CM) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak are all facing ATC cases.
Though PTI leaders deny vandalizing the government buildings, the prosecution is adamantly arguing that protest was illegal, since; the government did not allow protesters to stage a sit-in on the Constitution Avenue.
Imran Khan did not appear in the court, despite the issuance of non-bailable warrants, he was not arrested.
PTI leaders have denied the violent attack on the institutions. PTI leadership condemned the attacks on government buildings and claimed that the protesters were not from his party.
PTI leadership has criticized the cases lodged against him in ATC and termed them politically motivated, primarily aimed to take vengeance against Khan’s political struggle in the country. Party has opposed the use of terrorism cases against the political leaders to gain political ascendency and vengeance.