Dharna violence: Imran files acquittal, appearance exemption requests in ATC

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan said on Thursday that it was funny how terrorism cases were filed against him even though the protest sit-in in 2014 was part of a political struggle.
Imran said this while speaking to the media outside the anti-terrorism court (ATC), where he appeared in a case related to the injuries caused to the then-Islamabad SSP operations Asmatullah Junejo.
ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand had summoned Imran today at the last hearing on January 31.
During the hearing, Imran’s counsel informed the court that the cases against him were undemocratic, but the ATC judge said the cases were in court, for which the law ought to be followed.
Moreover, the PTI chief filed two requests in court, one pleading his acquittal and the other an exemption from appearance in court. The court ordered copies of both requests to be provided to the prosecution.
Imran’s counsel also requested a decision to be made on the acquittal before he is indicted in the case.
The court adjourned the case until February 26, when the remaining cases of the sit-in violence will also be heard. Moreover, the judge observed that Imran will have to appear in court until his exemption is approved.
The ATC is hearing cases against PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek leadership, including that of the attack on the state television building, Parliament and Junejo.
Earlier, when Imran arrived to appear in court, he disembarked from his vehicle outside the Federal Judicial Complex and proceeded towards the court on foot.
When a reporter asked him why he did not take his vehicle inside the complex up to its main entrance as former prime minister Nawaz Sharif does during his corruption hearings, Imran said he is an “ordinary citizen and not royalty”.
Later, answering a question, Imran bolstered PTI’s Ali Tareen, who lost Monday’s by-election in Lodhran to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate in a major upset for the opposition party.
The case
On September 1, 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 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 the then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The two parties were protesting ‘rigging’ in the 2013 general elections.
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, had to spend several days in the ICU due to the serious nature of his injuries.
It was Junejo’s first day on the post, after assuming command from Ali Nekokara. Junejo, known as an upright officer, was recently posted back to the capital as the assistant inspector general (operations).