Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday rejected the possibility of any political alliance with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as an anti-terrorism court (ATC) hearing 2014 protest sit-in cases against him and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri dismissed Imran Khan’s request to quash the terror charges and send the case to a lower court.
Speaking to media, the PTI chairperson said that he cannot form an alliance with “corrupt” PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.
The PTI chief said: “There should be no misunderstanding that till the presence of Asif Ali Zardari as leader of PPP there cannot be any political alliance,” adding, “if my struggle was to get power, I could have made alliances with Nawaz and PPP, how can I be with Zardari when my fight is against corruption.”
Criticising the provincial government, which Khan holds responsible for Model Town tragedy, he said: “There is no precedent of such incidents in democracy. The protesters were innocent, they (PML-N government) killed 14 innocent people through police.”
The PTI chairman said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is trying to give the impression that if they are thieves so are everyone else.
“They filed cases against me in Election Commission of Pakistan, Supreme Court and in ATCs, in a bid to silence me,” concluded the PTI chief.
ATC REJECTS KHAN’S PLEA OF REMOVING TERRORISM CLAUSES:
The ATC hearing four cases against Imran Khan dismissed his request to quash the terror charges and send the case to a lower court.
On Sept 1, 2014, during the PTI and PAT protests against “rigging” in General Elections 2013, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo was beaten up by protesters on Constitution Avenue on his first day on the job as SSP Operations of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police.
Besides this, Imran and PAT chief Tahirul Qadri also face charges of destroying property in the Red Zone and attacking the state TV channel’s building.
PTI and PAT supporters had attempted to break a police cordon and storm the PM House, using cranes to remove barricades. The clashes between police and protesters resulted in the deaths of three people and caused injuries to over 560.
The Secretariat police had registered a case against several PTI and PAT workers for their alleged involvement in vandalism and attacking SSP Junejo.
As the ATC resumed the hearing, Khan’s counsel, Babar Awan, pleaded before ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand to remove the terrorism clauses from the charges against his client.
“Protesting for one’s rights, with slingshots and sticks, is not terrorism but a democratic right,” maintained Babar Awan.
The prosecution said that during that the 2014 protest by the PTI in the capital’s Red Zone, the party’s chief had incited violence and urged his supporters to attack police officials and state buildings in his speeches.
The state prosecutor further said that Khan’s supporters had injured 26 police officials and had gone on to attack the PTV’s offices ─ acts that qualify as acts of terrorism.
“According to the Anti-Terrorism Act, these acts are non-bailable and punishable,” he said.
Awan then implied that the government had unjustly filed a case against the PTI chief by saying that the Sikh community had taken down a door of the Parliament building during a protest in 2014 but no legal action was taken by the state.
“My point is that, like the Sikh protesters, the purpose of people who gathered in D-Chowk was to register their protest,” he said.
The prosecution also accused Khan of disrespecting the court by failing to appear for case hearings for more than three years, despite being in Islamabad.
The prosecuting lawyer referred to a phone conversation, allegedly between Khan and PTI leader Arif Alvi in which the party chief appears to be happy about the attacks on PTV headquarters.
The PTI had claimed the tape was doctored.During the hearing, however, Awan accused the government of recording his client’s phone calls. Awan also demanded a copy of the tape so that the party could verify its authenticity.
The prosecution also alleged that PTI supporters had tried to snatch a police officer’s gun and carried cutters, slingshots and sticks.
However, the state prosecutor said there is solid evidence against the PTI chief of instigating party workers against the state.
Announcing its verdict, the ATC dismissed the plea and ordered Imran to appear before it at the next hearing on December 19.
The court also extended Imran’s interim bail in the cases until the next hearing.
Last month, Imran Khan had appeared before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) hearing four cases against him. The ATC had issued non-bailable warrants against Imran Khan after he persistently failed to show up for the hearing. The court had initiated the proceedings for declaring him proclaimed offender.
Later, Imran, through his counsel, had surrendered himself before the ATC. The ATC had approved the PTI chairman’s bail for Rs200,000 in each case and adjourned the hearing till Nov 24.
The court had also ordered Imran Khan to cooperate with the investigation and get his statement recorded before police.
In the previous hearing, the police had apprised the court that the PTI chairman is cooperating with the investigation and had recorded his statement.