IHC to resume hearing in PTI chief’s petition today

ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will Monday (today) resume hearing in Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan’s petition seeking quashment of a case registered against him on terrorism charges for hurling threats at a sessions judge and top police officials. 
A division bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz will conduct hearing of the petition filed by the former prime minister praying the court to quash the FIR registered against him on terrorism charges. 
Previously, the IHC bench had sought a report from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing former prime minister Imran Khan in the FIR registered against him under terrorism charges while a special prosecutor had informed the court that Imran Khan had joined the investigation. 
Justice Athar mentioned that the court had made a query to the investigation whether or not the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) could have been invoked in this case since the only evidence with police was a speech made by Imran Khan at a rally last month. 
The prosecutor adopted the stance that the allegations against Khan were of a “serious nature” and added that hurling threats at senior police officials like the inspector general and the deputy inspector general and a judge is a “very serious offence.” 
The prosecutor also read out the text of Khan’s speech before the court and said that his utterances attracted Section 6 of the ATA. The court reminded him that the PTI chief was already facing contempt proceedings over the speech and advised him not to mix up matters. The IHC Chief Justice observed that such utterances cannot terrorize the inspector general. 
The former prime minister moved the court through his counsels Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen Advocate and Salman Safdar Advocate and cited Station House Officer (SHO) PS Margalla, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Capital Territory, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Ali Javaid, Magistrate Saddar and the State as respondents. 
Khan filed the petition seeking ‘Quashing of FIR’ in case FIR No 407/ 2022 dated 20.08.2022 under section 7-ATA. He stated in the petition that the petitioner being aggrieved with the registration of baseless said FIR registered under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at Police Station Margalla, Islamabad craves for the kind indulgence of this court for quashing of abovementioned FIR mainly on the grounds that speech dated 20.08.2022 as well as contents of FIR do not disclose commission of any scheduled offence falling under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and absolutely ‘no threats’ were extended rather the petitioner referred to availing legal actions and remedies which is the Constitutional right of the petitioner. 
He further said that the aggrieved party has not come forth to register the FIR; and FIR has been registered through a planted complainant who lacks locus standi. 
He maintained that the instant case was registered by the political rivals, reflecting clearly on the malice and ulterior motives of the respondents behind lodging of this FIR, and especially the implication of the petitioner in the FIR who has now emerged as a powerful political threat to the current regime. 
Imran stated that therefore, the petitioner is eager to prove his innocence in an absolutely false and frivolous case registered with malafide intention and with the sole aim of blackmailing the petitioner. 
He argued that it is of great significance that neither the speech nor the contents of FIR disclose any ‘schedule offence’ which falls within the purview of Section 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. 
“Even otherwise, word ‘Action’ used in the speech did not denote any ‘Illegal/ Unlawful action’ against any person rather it was used for ‘Legal’ and ‘Lawful action’ which is right of every citizen of Pakistan. The above stated statement was twisted and dishonestly manipulated by respondents out of proportion and out of context to initiate proceeding under Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997,” added the chairman PTI. 
He continued that it is noteworthy that the instant FIR has been registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act only, the malafide intentions are quite apparent from the observation that no Penal Code offence of the 1860 Act is mentioned in Column No. 3 as main and accompanying offence. 
He contended, “This clearly establishes efforts and struggle and overstretching the clear provisions of Section 6 & 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 to register case against the petitioner under the very grave and serious charge of ‘Terrorism’.” 
Therefore, he prayed to the court that this court may very graciously quash the said FIR as being illegal, unlawful and is sheer violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and the same may also be declared as violative of Article 10-A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973. 
He also requested that since clearly FIR No. 407/ 2022 has clearly been registered by abusing the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 Respondent No. 1 (SHO) be strictly directed not to take any ‘adverse action’ and further investigation may kindly be suspended till the final adjudication of this petition seeking quashing of the FIR.

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