Imran's absconsion not enough to decline bail, ATC ruling

ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Saturday declared that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is to be only charged with instigation in the cases leveled against him.

The court ruled that the PTI chief did not injure anyone himself, and though he remained an absconder for over three years, his case is fit for granting bail.

The ATC granted bail to the PTI chairman in four terrorism-related cases and has reached the conclusion that Imran’s absconsion can’t lead to the curtailing of his liberty.

Moreover, the court ruled that no recovery has to be made from him and sending him behind the bars would serve no purpose.

The court, however, declared that the PTI chief is a proclaimed offender over his failure to appear before the court.

Details surfaced from the written order of the ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand who confirmed Imran’s pre-arrest bail in cases pertaining to an attack on the then SSP Asmatullah Junejo, PTV headquarters and Parliament, as well as, the violation of the loudspeaker act during the 2014 sit-ins in the federal capital.

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“Though the accused remained an absconder for a considerable period but otherwise the case is fit for acceptance of application,” the judge stated, adding that “mere absconsion cannot be based to curtail the liberty of a person.”

In the order, Justice Arjumand stated that the police have not attempted to trace out the actual culprits inspite of having footage of them who caused injuries to the complainant and one another senior police officer — the then SSP Junejo.

“Accused has been charged with a role of only raising “lalkara” and instigation,” he stated, “no specific act of injuring the police officials is attributed to him.”

In addition, the court ruled that “no recovery of any incriminating article is required to be made from the accused” as admitted he was not armed and the only role of instigating the other co-accused is attributed to him.

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“Sending the accused thus behind the bars in the stated circumstances will serve no fruitful purpose,” the order read.

Subsequently, the court confirmed the ad-interim bail earlier granted to Imran on the previously submitted bail bonds.

In his arguments, Khan’s counsel Babar Awan said that the PTI chief has been malafidely charged and his only role of raising proverbial lalkara was attributed to him.

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Awan further submitted that the accused has been charged “due to political rivalry with the sitting government and no act of terrorism has been committed by him.”

On the other hand, prosecutor Shafqaat Chaudhry argued that the accused remained an absconder for a sufficient length of time therefore; extraordinary concession of bail could not be exercised in his favour.

Legal experts said that the bail decision might encourage the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chief Tahirul Qadri and several other suspects who have yet to appear before the court.


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