PTV attack case: Court directs police to arrest Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri

Pakistan's cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, center, talks to journalists outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad on Thursday. (AP Photo)

Pakistan’s cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, center, talks to journalists outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad on Thursday. (AP Photo)


ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani anti-terror court directed police on Friday to arrest cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri by November 17 in connection with an attack on the Pakistan Television headquarters during a political protest in 2014.

Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi questioned why the police had not submitted a report on implementing the arrest warrants issued by the court for Khan, Qadri and 68 other people, media reports said.

Expressing displeasure at the police’s failure to implement the warrants, the judge directed officials to arrest Khan, Qadri and the others by November 17 and present them in his court on the same day.

The court’s order came days ahead of a planned shutdown of Islamabad from November 2 by Khan’s party to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over allegations that his three children own offshore assets worth millions of dollars.

A total of 70 people were booked when a mob of protesters belonging to Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehrik stormed the PTV headquarters in Islamabad and forced staff to take two flagship channels – PTV News and PTV World – off the air on September 1, 2014.

At the time, hundreds of supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehrik were camping outside the Parliament as part of a protest to oust the Sharif’s government over allegations of corruption and poor governance.

According to witnesses, nearly 400 protestors had stormed the PTV building after they were prevented from entering the Pakistan Secretariat compound, which houses key ministries. The protesters dispersed when a contingent of soldiers and paramilitary personnel arrived at the site about an hour later.

This was the first time that PTV’s transmissions went off the air since October 12, 1999, when former military ruler Pervez Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup after toppling the government of Nawaz Sharif.

Khan and the government have been engaged in a war of words over revelations in the Panama Papers leaks that Sharif’s children owned offshore assets. Khan’s party has submitted a petition in the Supreme Court seeking Sharif’s disqualification. -HT


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