ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan on Thursday challenged the jurisdiction of an anti-terrorism court (ATC) to hear the cases filed against his client and argued that terrorism charges against Khan should be dropped.
In a request submitted before the ATC, Awan also sought the transfer of the four cases to a civil court.
The cases against Khan — who was present in court on Thursday — were registered by Secretariat police in 2014 when he was leading an anti-government sit-in outside Parliament House.
These cases include the matter of the attack on a serving senior superintendent of police and other personnel as well as attacking a government installation.
Presenting his arguments before the court, the counsel cited as precedent the dismissal of cases against the protesters who had camped out at the Faizabad Interchange for over 20 days, disrupting life in the twin cities. The counsel went on to read the agreement which was brokered between the government and protesters by the army and brought the sit-in to an end. Awan referred specifically to clause 3 of the agreement, whereby the government accepted Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah’s demand that cases registered against the protesters would be dropped.
“Does the citizen’s struggle for democratic rights fall within the scope of terrorism?” Awan said before the bench, seeking the dismissal of terrorism charges against his client.
Judge Shahrukh Arjumand told the counsel that the cases against the protesters were not all dropped and the accused are still seeking bail.
The prosecution alleged that during the 2014 sit-in, Khan had told his workers to attack the inspector general and lay siege to the Prime Minister’s House. It claimed that there is plenty of evidence that Khan had incited his workers at the time, adding that action should be taken against the PTI chief under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The court extended Khan’s interim bail until December 11.
Speaking to the media after his appearance before the court, Khan said that the terrorism charges were levied against him even though the 2014 protesters were peaceful.
He said terrorism charges should be levelled against Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the Model Town case.