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Pakistan anti-terrorism court acquits PM Imran Khan in 2014 Parliament attack case

Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan. File   | Photo Credit: AP

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was aquitted by an anti-terrorism court on Thursday in the 2014 Parliament attack case but other senior ministers, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, were summoned for indictment, according to media reports.

Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan, however, halted proceedings against President Arif Alvi due to the presidential immunity granted to him, The Express Tribune reported.

On August 31, 2014, workers of the now ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) marched towards the Parliament and Prime Minister’s House and clashed with police, killing 3 persons and injuring 26 others.

Police had invoked sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act against Mr. Khan and other PTI leaders.

According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, Prime Minister Khan’s acquittal comes after he this week urged the court to acquit him as the prosecution was no longer interested in pursuing the case.

The application filed by his lawyer stated that the prosecution was “not interested in prosecuting the applicant (Imran Khan)”.

“The applicant is maliciously implicated and dragged in this false case. Further proceedings shall cause harassment and political victimisation. Particularly, after the prosecution stands in favour of the acquittal of the applicant,” it said.

According to the counsel, not a single witness of the prosecution had linked the Prime Minister with the offence, adding that there was no direct or indirect evidence available on record against him, the report said.

Prosecution lawyers are appointed by the government and take instructions from it. The then prosecution team under the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had fought the Parliament attack case but with a new team under the PTI government, the situation has changed, the Dawn report noted.

Judge Hassan summoned Foreign Minister Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood and Planning Minister Asad Umar at the next hearing on November 12 for indictment.

Provincial Ministers Aleem Khan and Shaukat Yousafzai as well as PTI’s former secretary general Jahangir Tareen have also been summoned at the next hearing.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) worker Mubashir Ali has been acquitted in the case.

Geo news reported that PAT chairman Tahirul Qadri has been declared a fugitive.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 8:27:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-anti-terrorism-court-acquits-pm-khan-in-2014-parliament-attack-case/article32971034.ece

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