Imran Khan speaks during an annual budget session in the National Assembly. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Islamabad on Thursday acquitted Prime Minister Imran Khan in the 2014 Parliament building attack case.
The verdict was announced by ATC Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan. He also decided that federal ministers Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pervez Khattak, Shafqat Mehmood and Asad Umar, who have been summoned at the next hearing on November 21, will be indicted in the same case.
Provincial ministers Aleem Khan and Shaukat Yousafzai as well as Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) former secretary general Jahangir Tareen were also summoned at the next hearing.
According to the counsel, not a single witness of the prosecution linked Imran Khan with the offence and there is no direct or indirect evidence available on record against the prime minister.
The petition for Imran Khan’s acquittal was submitted by a lawyer for the federal government, with the prosecutor arguing at the last hearing that the case was made on political grounds and that it would be "a waste of the court's time." Thus the prosecutor, who was supposed to oppose Imran Khan’s plea, favoured it instead.
"The prosecution has no objection if Imran Khan is acquitted," they said. The court also decided to halt proceedings against President Dr Arif Alvi owing to his holding the presidential office.
Dr Tahirul Qadri, the chief of the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT), has been declared a fugitive in the case.
In 2014, the PTI and PAT had organised sit-ins in front of the parliament building against the Nawaz Sharif government. Among other national installations, the protesters had also attacked the parliament building.
Pakistan’s president has called on India to immediately lift all restrictions on people in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, ignoring opposition calls for Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down over his alleged bad governance.
This would be Imran's second visit to the US. In July, he held a one-on-one meeting with Trump, reports The News International.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that Islam is a religion of peace and it has nothing to do with terrorism and the act of one person cannot be attributed to the whole community.
Rescuers, including the Philippine Coast Guard and fishermen, saved 195 passengers and 35 crew as the blaze ripped through the ferry off Baluk-Baluk Island in Basilan province.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed expressed his thanks to Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad for his congratulations and the sincere fraternal feelings he showed, wishing the brotherly State of Qatar and its people further progress and development.
Sheikh Sultan’s statement reads, “The Ruler of Sharjah congratulates Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on his appointment as Vice President."
Sheikh Mohammed said, “I congratulate my brothers Sheikh Hazaa, Sheikh Tahnoun, Sheikh Mansour and Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed for the confidence in the President of the State. In you and your brothers, the leaders of the new generation, the march continues.”