ISLAMABAD    -    The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday ordered to drop ter­rorism charges against Chairman Pakistan Teh­rik-e-Insaf (PTI) Im­ran Khan from a case registered against him for hurling threats at a woman judge and top police officials.

A division bench of IHC comprising ChiAthar Minallah and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz conducted hearing of the petition filed by the former prime minister pray­ing the court to quash the FIR registered against him on terrorism charges.

In its short order, the bench said that for reasons to be recorded later, the court declares that section 7 of the Anti-Terror­ism Act, 1997 is not attracted in the light of the principles and law laid down by the august Supreme Court in the case ti­tled “Ghulam Hussain and others vs the State and other” [PLD 2020 SC 61]. 

However, it added, “The proceedings in relation to offences described under sec­tions 188, 506, 504 and 189 of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 shall continue in accor­dance with law and, therefore, the case shall be transferred to a competent court vested with jurisdiction. 

It also noted that this order shall not in any manner prejudice the right of the petitioner to avail remedies provid­ed under the law after the report under section 173 of the Code of Criminal Pro­cedure, 1898 has been submitted.

During the hearing, Justice Athar asked from special prosecutor Raja Rizwan Ab­basi about the opinion of the Islamabad Police’s joint investigation team (JIT) re­garding the case. The prosecutor replied that the JIT’s opinion was that terrorism sections were warranted in the case.

At this, the IHC Chief Justice directed the prosecutor to read out the threaten­ing portions from Imran’s speech, and Abbasi read out the relevant portion. The judge then questioned that are these the only sentences?

Justice Athar said that if someone inter­fered in a case under adjudication then it amounted to contempt of court. He said that if terrorism charges were to be ap­plied against people on the argument be­ing made then in this way you will open up the floodgate.

The judge also asked that if there was a threat of causing a physical injury in Imran’s speech. To this, the prosecu­tor responded that the PTI leader’s re­marks were not limited to just bodily injuries. He added that it is to be seen who said these words. He is not an or­dinary person. He continued that that the person is a former prime minister and can even be the future prime min­ister. Imran Khan’s political party has a strong social media following. The IHC Chief Justice remarked that terrorism provisions were misused in the past, re­ferring to the example of former sena­tor Faisal Raza Abidi, who was later ac­quitted of the charges.

Abbasi contended that Imran’s speech was by design. At this juncture, Justice Athar remarked that if you could find nothing else in the investigation except for this speech then the design no lon­ger exists.

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 a baseless 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 & reme­dies which is the Constitutional right of the Petitioner.

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.ef Justice of IHC Justice