Pakistan’s opposition leader Imran Khan was today acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in a case related to the attack on a senior police officer during protests in 2014. Activists of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek Chairman Tahirul Qadri had in 2014 staged a major rally here against alleged rigging in the 2013 election. They were also protesting the Lahore incident in June 2014 in which as many as 14 people were killed and 100 injured in police firing.
Violent clashes had ensued during the protest when the police attacked Qadri’s residence during an ‘anti-encroachment’ operation and the then Senior Superintendent Police, Islamabad, Asmatullah Junejo, was severely thrashed when he tried to intervene. Khan was accused of inciting violence. Khan was present when ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand today read out the verdict in the case, declaring the cricketer-turned-politician as “innocent” and “discharged” him from the case.
Talking to media after he was exonerated, Khan said that it was a simple case and should not have been sent to an anti-terrorism court.
“Such democratic governments are worse than military dictatorships,” he alleged. However, he expressed satisfaction over his acquittal and promised to continue to fight for rights of people and against corruption. Ousted premier Nawaz Sharif criticised the verdict and said that the PTI chief was “declared innocent without any trial”.