Sunday, November 13, 2022
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court Saturday indicted around 10 PTI leaders, including six sitting lawmakers, on charges of violating the Section 144 ban, arson, attempt to murder, and terrorism during the party’s long march held in May.
PTI Sindh President Ali Zaidi along with the six MPAs — Khurrum Sher Zaman, Syed Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Arsalan Taj Hussain, Jamaluddin Siddiqui, Bilal Ghafar and Muhammad Ali Aziz — and other leaders and workers were booked in two identical cases for their alleged involvement in violence, arson, assault on policemen, and terrorism at the Numaish intersection on May 25.
As the cases came up for hearing before the ATC-I judge on Saturday, all the accused turned up before the court on bail. The judge read out charges to the accused, who subsequently pleaded not guilty and opted to contest them.
The court then directed the prosecution to present its witnesses to record their statements against the accused persons on the next date. The judge also confirmed the interim bail granted to the PTI leaders.
According to the prosecution, the PTI leaders in violation of the ban imposed on public gatherings under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) had taken out a rally of 600 to 700 workers and gathered at Numaish.
They allegedly provoked party workers to block the road, vandalise government properties, and raise anti-state slogans.
The rally was held after PTI chief Imran Khan had given a countrywide call for the long march towards the federal capital, demanding of the government to dissolve the assemblies and announce fresh elections.
The cases were registered at the Soldier Bazaar and Ferozabad police stations under sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 324 (attempt to murder), 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage to amount of one hundred rupees or (in case of agricultural produce) ten rupees), 109 (abetment), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) read with the Section 7 (punishment for terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The PTI's previous march ended abruptly and now, Khan — who is injured after an attempted assassination attack — is holding another long march with the same objectives, snap polls and the resignation of the incumbent government.