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Khan’s acquittal in SSP torture case challenged in IHC

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News Analysis |

The incumbent government has challenged the Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) decision, in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), to acquit the PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo torture case.

Through its counsel, the government alleged that the pertinent evidence exists, which was ignored by the ATC. This concluded the case in haste and overlooked the evidence in the form of eyewitness accounts and documented testimonies that were all recorded at the time.

On May 04, The PTI Chairman was acquitted by the ATC but the government believes that ATC reached the verdict without conducting a proper trail, which is why it is seeking a trail in IHC. In a petition, it said that “the impugned judgment was passed without keeping all evidence in consideration”.

Political ascendancy and vengeance against Khan appear to be the primary motive for challenging the acquittal in the IHC. These are the pressure tactics which parties in power use to submerge the opposition. 

The Advocate General Islamabad Tariq Mehmood Jahangir submitted the appeal to IHC on behalf of the state. SSP had told the ATC on oath that he was performing his duty in the red zone when some miscreants attempted to enter the parliament house and other sensitive buildings.

Despite the warnings, “the miscreants advanced forward and attacked me due to which I got injured. The blood was oozing out from my head, and therefore, I was immediately shifted to PIMS hospital”, he added.

The government has requested the IHC to declare the ATC’s decision as null and void. As per the First Information Report (FIR), Imran Khan was a prime accused to play a special/key part in the attack and the torture of SSP during the 2014 sit-in, when a mob had beaten the SSP on the Constitution Avenue.

Read more: ATC acquits Imran Khan in SSP Asmatullah Junejo torture case

An important aspect to Imran Khan’s acquittal was the nature of SSP’s testimony. If he had taken Imran Khan’s name instead of using the word “miscreants”, Imran Khan would not have been acquitted.

The PTI leadership has always criticized the cases lodged against the party leaders in ATC and termed them politically motivated and primarily aimed to take vengeance against Khan’s political struggle in the country. The PTI Chief also faces the cases on PTV and the Parliament attack.

The Advocate General Islamabad Tariq Mehmood Jahangir submitted the appeal to IHC on behalf of the state. SSP had told the ATC on oath that he was performing his duty in the red zone when some miscreants attempted to enter the parliament house and other sensitive buildings.

2014 sit-in

In 2014, PTI along with Tahirul Qadri protested against the PML-N government over the alleged rigging of the 2013 general elections and the Model Town killings, for 104 days. At the climax of this long sit-in, protestors had allegedly beaten up the SSP Asmatullah Junejo on the Constitution Avenue. The protest, which remained calm for a prolonged period of time, apparently turned violent and ended up with an attack on the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters and parts of the Parliament.

Following these unpleasant scenes in the Federal Capital, cases were registered against Imran Khan and Qadri along with other prominent party leaders.

Read more: Is Imran Khan justified in naming and shaming lawmakers?

PTI Denies the Criminal Intent

The 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. Other PTI leaders also deny vandalizing the government buildings.

The prosecution has been adamantly arguing that the protest was illegal since the government did not allow protesters to stage a sit-in on the Constitution Avenue. The PTI leaders have always denied and condemned the violent attacks on government buildings and claimed that the protesters were not from PTI.

An important aspect to Imran Khan’s acquittal was the nature of SSP’s testimony. If he had taken Imran Khan’s name instead of using the word “miscreants”, Imran Khan would not have been acquitted.

This verdict can apparently also lead to the acquittal of Imran Khan in other cases. The Chief Minister (CM) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak claimed that he was sleeping when the violent protesters attacked the Pakistan Televisions and the Parliament building on the Constitutional Avenue. Similarly, other leaders accuse the incumbent government of witch-hunt.

Read more: Imran Khan to expel 20 lawmakers from PTI

The public prosecutor refutes the claims of PTI leaders and alleges that participants of the violent mob which attacked PTV and other government buildings were PTI workers, acting on the behest of PTI leadership.

Political ascendancy and vengeance against Khan appear to be the primary motive for challenging the acquittal in the IHC. These are the pressure tactics which parties in power use to submerge the opposition.


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