An anti-terrorist court in Islamabad on Friday directed the police to implement its orders in relation to the arrest warrants of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehrik chief Tahirul Qadri in the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters attack case.
Today’s hearing of the case was presided by ATC judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi who inquired why the police had not been able to submit an implementation report on the court’s arrest orders.
Expressing his displeasure over the police’s failure to submit the implementation report, the judge directed authorities to carry out the arrests of Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri and 68 others by Nov 17 and present them in court on the said date.
The 70 were booked after a mob of protesters belonging to the PTI and PAT stormed PTV headquarters and forced its staff to take two of the state broadcaster’s flagship channels — PTV News and PTV World — off the air on Sept 1, 2014.
According to eyewitnesses, at the time nearly 400 PTI and PAT workers had stormed the PTV building, across the road from the main entrance to the Pakistan Secretariat. The attack had come soon after demonstrators were repulsed from the secretariat compound.
But the occupying force was dispersed without incident by a contingent of army and Rangers personnel, who arrived on the scene within an hour of the state-TV being taken off-air.
Transmission was restored shortly after noon as the occupying force dispersed peacefully, shouting pro-army slogans and hugging military and paramilitary personnel who arrived at the scene.
This was the first time that PTV’s transmission had gone blank since October 12, 1999, when former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup after toppling the government of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The protesters were also charged with attacking government properties including the Parliament House building. The incidents took place during the 2014 sit-ins staged by PTI and PAT members and supporters, with both parties calling on Prime Minister Nawaz to step down.
Imran Khan and the federal government have been locking horns over the Panama Papers leaks. And today’s hearing comes at the heels of PTI’s planned siege of the capital city on Nov 2, that is aimed at ramping up pressure on the government to take concrete measures to address the party’s concerns over Panama Papers. The party has also submitted a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking Prime Minister Nawaz’s disqualification.