General

ATC reserves decision on Imran’s plea to quash terror charges

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) resumed hearing four cases against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan on Monday.
The PTI chief’s counsel, Babar Awan, presenting arguments before ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand, pleaded to remove the terrorism clauses from the charges against his client.
He said protesting for one’s rights is not terrorism but a democratic right.
However, the state prosecutor said there is solid evidence against the PTI chief of instigating party workers against the state. 
The judge then reserved the decision on the case.
The PTI chief has also reached the court from his Bani Gala residence to appear before the judge for the fourth time.
Speaking to the media outside the court, Imran said it is shameful that the state is lodging terrorism cases against political opponents.
The ATC is hearing four cases against the PTI chief including attack on the state television building, the Parliament and then SSP Operations 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 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.
Court proceedings 
During the last hearing on Thursday, Imran had appeared before the ATC.
The police informed the judge 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.
Violence during the 2014 sit-in
Imran and his ally Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul 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.