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Imran, others acquitted in 'Azadi March' violence cases – Pakistan

Imran, others acquitted in 'Azadi March' violence cases – Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: A local court on Monday acquitted former Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders in these cases almost two years after they were registered for alleged violence, rioting, obstructing public service and mischief by fire or explosive. substance with the intention of causing damage during the May 25 Azadi March.

Besides ex-prime minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Qasim Suri, Zartaj Gul, Ali Nawaz Awan, Faisal Javed, Shireen Mazari, Saifullah Niazi, Asad Umar and Awami Muslim League president Sheikh Rashid were acquitted.

Judicial Magistrates Mureed Abbas and Shahzad Khan pronounced the verdicts, which were reserved after discussions, in the cases registered at Karachi Company and Kohsar police stations in 2022.

The Karachi Corporation Police had arrested Imran Khan, Mr. Qureshi, Ms. Mazari, Mr. Niazi, Mr. Umar, Ms. Gul, Mr. Awan and Mr. Javed under sections 109 (complete), 148 (armed riot). 'a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly). , 186 (obstructing public service), 188 (disobedience), 353 (assault on public servant), 427 (causing damage) and 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage) of the Code Pakistani criminal law.

An identical FIR was registered at Kohsar police station against Mr. Khan, Mr. Qureshi, Mr. Rashid, Mr. Awan and Mr. Suri following the complaint of sub-inspector (SI) Asif Raza on May 26 at 1:50 a.m. in the morning.

During the proceedings before Judicial Magistrate Abbas, PTI lawyer Naeem Panjotha argued that the case could not proceed as the FIR was lodged by an unauthorized person as the power to lodge the The matter belonged solely to the person who had imposed the section. 144. Furthermore, the lawyer argued that no video evidence could be presented against the ex-Prime Minister in this case.

The defense lawyer requested the court to acquit the PTI founder as the allegations against him were baseless. He also informed the court that the cases against Imran Khan were all politically motivated.

He insisted that the PTI protest was peaceful, saying no trees were set on fire by any protesters. He was of the opinion that the trees had caught fire due to police shelling. He asked the court to honorably acquit the PTI founder president and other accused.

Imran Khan's march for Haqeeqi Azadi (true freedom) on May 25, 2022, was preceded by authorities invoking Section 144, a measure used to restrict gatherings. Shipping containers have been placed on main arteries to block their passage.

Undeterred by these movements, the demonstrators, who tried to break through the containers to travel to Islamabad, were met with tear gas as police attempted to disperse them. The police also attacked them with batons.

Published in Dawn, May 21, 2024




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