ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) approved on Wednesday the bail of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Shireen Mazari, Arif Alvi and Asad Umar in four cases of terrorism.
The ATC was hearing four cases — including for the attack on the state television building, Parliament and the-then Islamabad SSP Operations Asmatullah Junejo — against the three leaders as well as PTI chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri.
Mazari, Umar and Alvi appeared before the court for the first time in the case for their pre-arrest bail.
The PTI leaders submitted surety bonds of Rs100,000 each after which ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand restrained the police from arresting the suspects.
The ATC directed Mazari, Umar and Alvi to appear before it on January 23.
Imran’s interim bail extended
The ATC had extended the interim bail of Imran Khan in the four cases on January 2.
On December 11, the ATC had dismissed Imran Khan’s request to quash the terror charges and send the case to a lower court. Imran’s legal counsel, Babar Awan, pleaded before ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand to remove the terrorism clauses from the charges against his client. He said protesting for one’s rights, with slingshots and sticks, is not terrorism but a democratic right.
However, the state prosecutor said there is solid evidence against the PTI chief of instigating party workers against the state. The judge then reserved the decision on the case.
Speaking to the media outside the court after his appearance, Imran said it is shameful that the state is lodging terrorism cases against political opponents.
The court had earlier issued non-bailable warrants against him and declared him a proclaimed offender as he had not appeared in any hearing.
The court had also ordered Imran to cooperate with the investigation and get his statement recorded before police. Last Sunday, Imran appeared before the investigation officer and recorded his statement at the Secretariat Police Station.
Violence during the 2014 sit-in
Imran and his ally Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri face charges of destroying property in the Red Zone, attacking the state TV channel’s building and injuring SSP Junejo during the 2014 protest.
In August 2014, violence broke out in the federal capital when PTI and PAT supporters attempted to break a police cordon and storm the PM House, using cranes to remove barricades.
The clashes between police and protesters resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to over 560. Of the injured, 77 were security officials deployed in the Red Zone, including SSP Junejo.
The decision to march to the PM House was taken after talks between the government, PTI and PAT had failed to end the deadlock over the resignation of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The two parties were protesting ‘rigging’ in the 2013 General Elections.