Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday reiterated that cases concerning the storming of the state-run broadcaster’s offices during the 2014 sit-in do not qualify as terrorism cases.
An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) had on Monday rejected PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s request to transfer the ongoing 2014 Pakistan Television (PTV) attack case to a civil court.
In 2014, Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek Chairman Tahirul Qadri staged a major rally in Islamabad against alleged rigging in the 2013 election and the Model Town tragedy, which had seen as many as 14 people killed and 100 others injured when police attacked Qadri’s residence during an ‘anti-encroachment’ operation. The protest had continued for a record 104 days.
On Sept 1, 2014, while the sit-in was still ongoing, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo had been beaten up by protesters on Constitution Avenue as they stormed the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters and the precincts of the Parliament.
A case had later been registered against Khan, Qadri and others for ‘torturing’ SSP Junejo and five other police officers and attacking public property.
On December 7, 2017, the PTI chief had requested that the cases be transferred from the ATC to a civil court since they did not qualify as “terrorism”. However, his counsel failed to satisfy the court in this regard. On his way to court, Khan had alleged he was being victimised by Nawaz Sharif’s family for pursuing corruption cases against them.
On Tuesday, Chaudhry held a press conference in Islamabad and said that the decision of an anti-terrorism court to try party chief Imran Khan under anti terrorism laws is “illegal”.
He added that “300 people” will challenge the decision before a high court.
Complaining about “dual standards” in the country, he also said that the Sharif family seem to appear before the courts “as per a schedule of their own will.”
He disregarded the fact that the PTI chief had failed to show up for the case’s proceedings for three years despite being present in the same city and being issued repeated summonses.
Chaudhry further complained that Ishaq Dar was “still finance minister of the country” and the prime minister had been unable to send him packing. “Practically a proclaimed offender is a minister of our country,” he remarked.
Accusing Dar of illegally recruiting “incompatible officials” in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he also expressed concerns regarding the prosecutor general appointed today by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
“NAB lawyers should be appointed on merit and through a crystal clear procedure,” the PTI spokesman said.
Speaking on the Hudaibiya case, Chaudhry wondered why a NAB prosecutor had told the court that Nawaz Sharif was forced into exile: “Doesn’t he know that Nawaz Sharif had left the country after reaching an agreement with the dictator [Pervez Musharraf],” he asked.
Chaudhary further said that the all pieces of evidence against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been submitted to the accountability court so a decision should be announced on the NAB references by the commencement of the next year.
Babar Awan calls on Imran Khan
Meanwhile, senior counsel Dr Babar Awan called on PTI chief Imran Khan to discuss various political, legal and constitutional matters.
The PTI chief was reported to have directed Awan to approach a high court against the decision of the ATC to pursue the PTV station storming case under terrorism laws.
Speaking on the occasion, Khan also vowed to merge the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa “at any cost.”
Terming the government’s failure to implement the Fata package “a violation of the Constitution,” Khan said early elections are the only way to avoid a political and economic crises.