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Insufficient evidence: ATC issues detailed verdict on PM's acquittal in Parliament attack case

  • ATC states that intrinsic value of the prosecution evidence collected is not persuasive enough to warrant any conviction
03 Nov 2020

(Karachi) An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has issued a detailed verdict citing reasons of acquitting Prime Minister Imran Khan in the 2014 Parliament House attack case, local media reported on Tuesday.

The judgment consists of nine pages and was written by Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan. On October 29, Prime Minister Imran Khan was acquitted from all charges in the case.

In the verdict, the ATC judge observed: "In the absence of direct incriminating evidence of commission of murder, attempt to murder, use of force against Police Party, causing of mischief, house tress pass, having made preparation for causing hurt, assault or use of criminal force to deter public servant, dacoity, mischief by fire or explosive against the present applicants and further absence of evidence pertaining to creation of incitement and instigation for the mob the mere bald allegation against the present applicants are insufficient and inconclusive proof of the guilt of applicants Imran Khan and Mubahshir Ali."

It stated, "Even if the case of Prosecution proceeds further and statements of all the prosecution witnesses are allowed to be recorded, there would be no probability of improvement in the Prosecution case and the instant case will remain a case of no tangible evidence against the present applicants."

“Since, no other material evidence has either been collected by the prosecution or likely to be produced before the Court; ergo this Court is of the considered opinion that intrinsic value of the prosecution evidence collected is not persuasive enough to warrant any conviction," the written verdict added.

It maintained it was contended by the defence counsel and candidly conceded by the prosecution that the case was lodged against the backdrop of a politically motivated dispute. "It is well-settled policy of criminal law that criminal case has to be decided on the basis of evidence collected and subsequently produced before the Court, ergo, this Court will refrain to dilate upon assertion/contention of Defence and confine itself to the extent of appreciation of facts and circumstances of the case in the light of evidence adduced by the prosecution."

The ATC concluded, "Under the circumstances and for the reasons supra mentioned instant applications preferred under Section 265-K, CrPC are accepted. As a consequence of acceptance of instant applications, accused/applicants Imran Khan and Mubashir Ali are hereby acquitted of the charge within the ambit of Section 265-K CrPC."

The backdrop

PM Imran, as well as other party leaders, including Alvi, Umar, and Qureshi, were booked by police under the Anti-Terrorism Act after being accused of attacking the Parliament House and the office of the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) during a sit-in staged by the PTI and PAT — under Dr Qadri — in Islamabad in August 2014.

The politicians had marched towards the Parliament and PM House in an attempt to topple the then PML-N government after the Model Town incident. Clashes with the authorities were reported as they made their way towards the destination.

The protest had gone on for more than 100 days.