ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday granted bail to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in four cases registered against him during 2014 sit-in.
ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand announced the verdict in presence of the PTI chief and his counsel.
He had earlier reserved the verdict on the bail applications after hearing his counsel’s arguments.
Speaking to the media after the hearing, Khan said this verdict proved he was not a terrorist. Exploiting anti-terrorism law for political gains would harm democracy, he said and alleged that the law was used to settle scores with opponents.
He said if his party was elected to power, it would resolve issues plaguing the country and predicted that his party would be in power after next general elections.
The PTI chief said former premier Nawaz Sharif was desperate for reconciliation like NRO and if he succeeded in getting off the hook, he would ask for opening the doors of all prisons.
Responding to criticism of him for allegedly being a blue-eyed person of the judiciary, he explained he was deemed so because he respected the law and presented himself for accountability for a year.
Later in a tweet, he said: “My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist. Moreover, the SC [Supreme Court] has pronounced me Sadiq and Ameen and I am coming after them crooks.”
Earlier in the day, the judge directed the PTI chief and his counsel to appear before it till 12 noon when they failed to show up.
As he took up the cases, junior counsel Shahid Gondal appeared before him on behalf of Advocate Babar Awan and told him that Awan was busy before a Supreme Court bench.
The court deferred the hearing until the noon, directing Khan and his counsel to appear before it.
Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) along with their supporters had been booked in a number of cases during the 2014 sit-in calling for the resignation of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Earlier, the court had granted bail to the PTI chief against a surety of Rs200,000 in each case and directed him to cooperate with the investigation officer in connection with probe into the cases.
In a case, 70 people were booked after a mob of protesters belonging to the PTI and PAT stormed PTV headquarters and forced its staff to take two of the state broadcaster’s flagship channels — PTV News and PTV World — off the air on Sept 1, 2014.
The protesters were also charged with attacking government properties including the Parliament House building.
Another case related to the attack on then-Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Asmatullah Junejo.