Will support PAT if Qadri takes to the streets, says Imran after ATC appearance

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan appeared on Thursday (today) before the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in cases pertaining to the sit-in by PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in 2014.

During the hearing, police informed ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand, who is hearing the cases, that Imran has joined the investigation and is no longer an absconder.

Imran’s counsel Babar Awan stated in court that they have already challenged the jurisdiction of the ATC in the case, and the court should first decide on the matter before proceeding with the case.

However, the public prosecutor argued that there are solid pieces of evidence against the PTI chief of instigating supporters towards violence, adding that he is in violation of 10 sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The court then adjourned the hearing until December 11.

During a media talk after the hearing, the PTI chief said the 2014 sit-in was peaceful and instead of him, Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif and law minister Rana Sanaullah should be implicated in a terrorism case.

He reiterated his demand for resignation of Sanaullah and Shehbaz, saying they should be in jail for the violence during the Model Town incident of 2014. “Only a fascist government, bred in laps of dictators, can implicate political opponents in terrorism cases,” he argued.

“We will join Tahirul Qadri if he takes to streets to protest,” Imran said, referring to the PAT chief.

This is the third time the PTI chief appeared in the ATC in the cases.

The ATC is hearing four cases against the PTI chief including assault on state television building, the Parliament and SSP Asmatullah Junejo.

Last month, Imran, through his counsel, had surrendered himself before the ATC, which then approved the PTI chairman’s bail for Rs200,000 in each case. The court had earlier issued non-bailable warrants against him and declared him a proclaimed offender as he had not appeared in any hearing.
The court had also ordered Imran Khan to cooperate with the investigation and get his statement recorded before police. Last Sunday, Imran appeared before the investigation officer and recorded his statement at the Secretariat Police Station.

Violence during 2014 dharna

The two ‘political cousins’, Imran and Qadri, face charges of destroying property in the Red Zone, attacking the state TV channel’s building and injuring SSP Junejo during the 2014 protest.

In August 2014, violence broke out in the federal capital when PTI and PAT supporters attempted to break a police cordon and storm the PM House, using cranes to remove barricades.
The clashes between police and protesters resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to over 560. Of the injured, 77 were security officials deployed in the Red Zone, including SSP Junejo.
The decision to march to the PM House was taken after talks between the government, PTI and PAT had failed to end the deadlock over the resignation of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The two parties were protesting ‘rigging’ in the 2013 General Elections.