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ATC turns down Imran Khan’s plea to drop terrorism charges

ISLAMABAD: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Monday dismissed a plea filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s counsel to seek removal of terrorism charges in four cases against him. 

ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand announced the reserved judgment on the plea submitted by Babar Awan.

The court rejected to drop terrorism charges in all four cases filed against Khan for inciting his party workers to violence, inflicting losses to state properties including the state television building, the parliament, and injuring Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo during Islamabad sit-in back in 2014.

However, it granted Khan a temporary bail until December 19.

At the outset of court proceedings, Khan’s counsel Babar Awan presented arguments against incorporation of terrorism charges against his client in the cases.

He contended that all the cases were filed merely on political differences as his client has been at forefront of anti-corruption campaign.

“Protest is a fundamental right guaranteed to the citizens by the constitution of country,” Awan argued. He then submitted a plea to seek removal of terrorism charges from the cases.

Opposing the plea, the state prosecutor said there were concrete proofs against the PTI chief of instigating his party workers against the state, inflicting damages to the state properties.

Khan was booked under terrorism charges back in 2014 allegedly for an assault on state television building and the parliament.

Imran Khan deplores terrorism charges

Talking to media after the court proceedings, the PTI chairman reiterated that the ruling party leaders could not differentiate the peaceful protests and terrorism acts.

Deploring terrorism charges against him, Khan said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders view every peaceful protest against government as a terror act.

Earlier, the ATC approved the PTI chairman’s bail for Rs 200,000 in each case after Imran Khan surrendered himself before the court last month.

The court had then also ordered Imran Khan to cooperate with the investigation officers and get his statement documented with police.

In compliance with court orders, Khan recorded his statement with police at Secretariat Police Station last week.

At last hearing

At the last hearing, the investigation officer informed ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand that Khan had joined investigation with police and extended full cooperation, hence he was no longer an absconder.

He also submitted a report to the court.

The anti-terrorism court then adjourned the hearing till December 11 (today).

Both PAT and PTI chiefs, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, are accused of destroying property in the Red Zone of Islamabad, attacking the state TV channel’s building and injuring SSP Junejo during the 2014 protests.

The two leaders held protests against alleged rigging in the General Elections 2013 and for action against the culprits of Model Town carnage in Lahore.

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