ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Friday acquitted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan in the SSP Asmatullah Junejo attack case, filed after the 2014 sit-in.
ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand read out the verdict in the case. “You are discharged from the case,” said the judge. “Thank you,” replied Imran and walked out of the courtroom.
The court had deferred the judgment on April 25 in the acquittal plea submitted by Imran and ordered him to appear in person. The judge had threatened to issue arrest warrants if Imran did not appear before the court.
Political leaders and over a hundred workers and supporters of PTI and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) were booked in the cases. The workers, who were arrested, were later released on bail.
On September 1, 2014, hundreds of men, allegedly protesters from the PTI and PAT camps, ransacked the PTV office, parliament premises and brutally beat up Junejo, less than 24 hours into his first day as SSP operations. Imran, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri and several others were booked for their alleged involvement in the attacks.
On August 31, 2014, in an attempt to topple the PML-N government, the PTI and the PAT workers had marched on the parliament and the PM House while clashing with policemen along the way.
Speaking to media outside the court, Imran dwelled on an anti-terrorism court’s purpose. “ATC was established for cases that could not be accommodated by normal courts,” he said.
Citing former SSP Rao Anwar’s case, Imran accused ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari for transferring unnecessary cases to the ATC. “They have adopted the same stance as military dictators.”
When asked about the performance of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Imran said the watchdog was working in ‘true spirit’. “For the first time they are taking the right people to task,” he said.
Extending support to NAB to investigate all government departments, Imran claimed Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scared of investigations after misusing development funds. “No one is more corrupt than Zardari,” observed the PTI chief. “But he is not a hypocrite. He does not pose to be innocent like the Sharifs.”
Responding on the sexist remarks passed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, Imran said Rana Sanaullah, Abid Sher Ali, Talal Chuadhry and Javed Latif frequently used bad language for women. “Sharifs use these tactics, their front-men spit venom against women. They did not even spare Nusrat and Benazir Bhutto.”
Reproaching the PML-N leadership to respect women, Imran quipped that the Sharifs pretended to respect women while they were abroad.