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.
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