ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has challenged the jurisdiction of an anti-terrorism court (ATC) to hear a couple of cases registered against him for allegedly propagating violence during the PTI’s 2014 sit-in.
The court also extended Khan’s interim bail until December 11.
Khan appeared before the ATC (Islamabad) for the third time on Thursday, where his counsel Babar Awan contested the terrorism clauses inserted in the cases and requested the court to remove them and send the cases to normal courts.
The court is hearing Khan’s pleas for bail before arrest in at least four cases which were registered against him during the months-long sit-in his party had staged in Islamabad in 2014.
After years of absconding, Khan finally showed up in the court last month. Awan, who is representing the PTI chief, maintained that staging a protest was the right of citizens and they shouldn’t be booked for terrorism for merely protesting.
He also cited the recent agreement between the government and the Faizabad protesters in which the government agreed to quash all cases registered against the protesters.
He requested that the cases be sent to normal sessions court after removing terrorism clauses. However, the state prosecutor contested Awan’s arguments, saying the PTI chief incited violence against police and hence he was booked under anti-terror law.
The court has sought police’s view over Khan’ plea and adjourned the case to December 11.
The court had granted bail to Khan in four cases on November 14 against a surety of Rs200,000 each with directions to Khan to appear before the police for investigation. Subsequently, Khan appeared before the police on December 2. He has been summoned again on Monday by the ATC.
Khan, Tahirul Qadri and several others were booked after the protesters beat up SSP Asmatullah Jenujo, attacked parliament, and ransacked the PTV headquarters. Khan and Qadri were also booked for misuse of loudspeakers during the sit-ins.
On August 31, 2014, in an attempt to topple the PML-N government, the PTI and the PAT workers had marched on the Parliament House and the PM House while clashing with the police along the way.
At least three protesters died and hundreds of protesters and policemen were injured. The next morning, hundreds of protesters ransacked the PTV offices on the Constitution Avenue. The sit-ins, however, ended in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre.