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ATC extends bail of 5 PTI leaders, removes Mazari’s name from 2014 PTV case – Pakistan

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Bails for five leaders from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday were extended by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in the PTV attack case.

The court also announced its verdict on Shireen Mazari’s involvement in the 2013 attack and removed the lawmaker’s name from the case.

In 2014, Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek Chairman Tahirul Qadri staged a major rally in Islamabad against alleged rigging in the 2013 election and the Model Town tragedy, which had seen as many as 14 people killed and 100 others injured when police attacked Qadri’s residence during an ‘anti-encroachment’ operation.

Khan had threatened to shut down the entire country in what was perceived as a bid to topple the government. The protest had continued for a record 104 days.

On Sept 1, 2014, while the sit-in was still ongoing, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Asmatullah Junejo had been beaten up by protesters on Constitution Avenue as they stormed the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters and the precincts of the Parliament.

A case had been registered against Khan, Qadri and others for torturing SSP Junejo and five other police officers. Arrest warrants had also been issued against the two leaders.

On December 7, the PTI chief requested that the cases regarding the storming of the PTV offices during the 2014 sit-in be transferred from an ATC to a civil court since it did not qualify as a terrorism case.

During Thursday’s hearing, the ATC judge heard arguments on the bail extension for Arif Alvi, Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Khurram Nawaz and Shafqat Mehmood.

While presenting his arguments in court, the prosecution lawyer said that the sections of the law that have been used against the PTI leaders pertain to non-bailable offences.

“The case against these people [PTI leaders] is different than the one against Imran Khan. Khan’s role in the case was limited to the stage but they were the ones who riled up the crowd,” he said, adding that the “blood of the three people who were killed during the attack was on the PTI leaders”.

“The section of the law pertaining to murder is also present in the FIR against these leaders,” he said, adding that the prosecution would also like to know where the ammunition used by the mob came from.

“These leaders threatened to topple the government through force, even though there is a set mechanism to express your opposition to the government,” the prosecution lawyer argued.

During his arguments, the PTI lawyer said that the three people that died all belonged to PTI “and yet the case has been registered against us”.

He argued that no weapons were found in possession of any of the applicants in the pre-arrest bail case.

Shireen Mazari’s name was not in the FIR; she was just part of the initial investigation of the case, the PTI lawyer said, adding that even the FIR itself is based on very vague allegations.

The hearing was adjourned after Mazari’s name was removed from the case.

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