ATC refuses to exempt Aleem Khan from personal appearance on 30th – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Abdul Aleem Khan, on Monday appeared before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) and requested it to exempt him from personal appearance on Sept 30 in a case related to attacks on the Parliament House and PTV building.

But ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand turned down his request and directed him to file his application on the said date before the court.

The same court had issued arrest warrants for Mr Khan for absenting himself from previous proceedings which were suspended after his counsel filed an application and tried to justify the absence.

Mr Khan, along with PTI’s central leaders, is facing a case for attacking the Parliament House and PTV building during the 2014 sit-in.

Police invoked relevant sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act against PTI chief and Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Dr Arif Alvi, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, former finance minister Asad Umar, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Raja Khurram Nawaz, Jahangir Khan Tareen, Aleem Khan and others for inciting violence during the 2014 sit-in at D-Chowk in Islamabad.

During the course of proceedings, Aleem Khan informed the court that he intended to proceed to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. He said that since he would be out of the country on Sept 30, he may be exempted from personal attendance.

His counsel, Shahid Naseem Gondal, told the court that the arrest warrants for Aleem Khan had been suspended and withdrawn after he submitted an affidavit explaining reasons for being absent.

When the judge was dictating the order, Advocate Gondal requested the judge to give exemption to Aleem Khan from appearance. The judge however replied that the accused may mark his attendance and for the grant of permanent exemption he can file the application on Sept 30 when the court will resume proceedings.

The entire PTI leadership has been given permanent exemption from personal attendance in this case. President Alvi did not avail of the immunity as provided to him in the Constitution for being the head of state.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2019

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