Imran Khan
The Pakistan Anti-Terrorism Court acquitted Prime Minister Imran Khan in the 2014 Parliament assault case. Image Credit: Twitter/PMO

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan was acquitted today by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Islamabad in the 2014 Parliament attack case during the sit-in against the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

ATC Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan announced the judgment that was earlier reserved.

The court however summoned Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood and Planning Minister Asad Umar at the next date of hearing, Nov 12, to indict them in the same case.

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.

Besides Khan, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) worker Mubashir Ali was also acquitted in the case while the party’s chairman, Tahirul Qadri, was declared a fugitive.

In his judgment the ATC Judge however halted proceedings against President Arif Alvi due to the presidential immunity granted to him in the constitution of Pakistan.

Parliament Attack case: Brief history

On August 31, 2014, workers of the now ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) tried to enter Parliament and go towards the Prime Minister’s House and clashed with police.

The Islamabad police had invoked sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act against Khan and other PTI leaders.

The incident took place during the sit-ins by PTI and PAT workers in front of the Parliament.

The prosecution, as per their earlier stance, had claimed that three people were killed and 26 injured in the incident.

Prime Minister Khan’s acquittal comes days after he urged the court the court to acquit him as the prosecution was no longer interested in pursuing the case.

State lawyer Abdullah Babar Awan, son of Adviser to the prime minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, told the court that prosecution was not interested in pursuing the case.

Prosecution no longer interested in case

“The learned prosecutor appearing for the other side is heard and the learned prosecutor candidly conceded that in this false case the charge against the petitioner is groundless and there is no probability of the conviction and therefore, the learned prosecutor agreed that this is a fit case for acquittal,” the prosecution lawyer who was appointed by the sitting government said in the written application.

“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.

Not a single witness from prosecution side

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

Earlier, the court had granted permanent exemption to Khan from appearance in the case.