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ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Tuesday acquitted President Dr Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, and other senior leaders of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the 2014 ‘parliament house attack case’.

The ATC judge, Muhammad Ali Warraich, while announcing its reserved judgment acquitted, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Provincial Minister Shaukat Yousufzai, Jahangir Khan Tareen, Aleem Khan, Saifullah Khan Niazi, Ijaz Chaudhry, Raja Khurram Nawaz, and others.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was also named in the case, was acquitted by the ATC in October 2020.

During the previous hearing, President Alvi appeared in the court along with his counsel Babar Awan and submitted two separate applications, one for giving up his constitutional immunity and another seeking his acquittal for want of evidence under Section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The ATC had reserved its verdict in the case last month.

On August 30, 2014, the PTI and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers marched towards the Parliament house and clashed with the police deployed at the Constitution Avenue, and a case was registered at the Secretariat Police Station.

Qureshi, while talking to reporters after appearing before the ATC said that his government will deal with the no-confidence motion in a political and democratic way. We have no intention to intimidate or create hurdles in contacts of members of the parliament, he said.

He said that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had staged a long march but the government did not create any hurdles in their way and also the government will not create hurdles in the way of whoever will carry out long marches in future.

Qureshi said that the opposition parties are claiming that they have the required votes to make their no-confidence motion successful. If they have the required number, then why they have announced staging a sit-in in Islamabad, he asked. He claimed that there is division among the ranks of the opposition parties.

About his party’s decision to stage a mammoth public meeting at D-Chowk on March 27, he said that we are not coming to stage a sit-in. The public gathering to be held at D-Chowk on March 27 will be peaceful and the premier will share his point of view with the public. Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to share some things with the nation to gain their confidence.

He termed the opposition alliance a “temporary bubble”. The opposition does not have a plan for the future, what would be the set-up, what would be the term for the new government or who would be the prime minister, he said. Would Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will make Pakistan People Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari prime minister or Bilawal will make PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif the prime minister, he asked.

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