Pakistan court orders dropping of terrorism charges against Imran Khan
The former prime minister was booked under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Act for threatening a female judge and senior police officials last month.
The Islamabad High Court on Monday directed the authorities to drop terrorism charges against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, Al Jazeera reported.
Khan was booked under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act for threatening a female judge and senior police officials on August 20.
In a speech, Khan had threatened to file cases against Islamabad’s inspector-general, deputy inspector general and Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry over the treatment meted out to his aide Shahbaz Gill.
Gill was arrested on August 9 after he made controversial remarks about the Pakistan Army on television. He was charged with a number of offences, including sedition, waging war against the state, abetting a mutiny and provoking a riot. Khan had claimed that Gill was tortured in custody.
“They [Pakistan government] are trying to scare us by torturing Gill,” Khan had said in his speech. “What they did to Gill, they mocked the rule of law and tore it to shreds. Terror is being spread among the people to make them slaves.”
He had also urged his supporters and the Pakistan Army to stand with the nation rather than with “the gang of thieves” – a reference to the ruling coalition government of Pakistan.
Subsequently, the former premier had claimed that his words were taken out of context and he was ready to be part of the investigation against him.
On Monday, the Islamabad High Court said that Khan’s comments did not attract charges under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and even capital punishment.
Khan’s lawyer Salman Safdar said that the case against Khan, however, will remain intact and he will now be tried in an ordinary court, instead of an anti-terrorism court.
“Frankly, it appears that the case is pretty much done and over with,” he added, according to Al Jazeera. “The malafide intent of prosecution has been exposed with this order and the case is utterly spineless now.”
Khan was ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote on April 10. He has repeatedly claimed that the vote was part of a “foreign conspiracy” to topple him.