Pak court orders police to drop terror charges against Imran Khan over threatening remarks against judge

ISLAMABAD, Sep 19:  In a major relief to former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, a top court on Monday ordered police to drop terrorism charges against him for making threatening remarks against a female judge and officials of the Islamabad Police during a rally here last month.

During a rally here on August 20, Khan had threatened to file cases against top police officials, election commission and political opponents over the treatment meted out to his aide Shahbaz Gill, who was arrested on charges of sedition.

The 69-year-old Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party had also taken exception to Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the police, and said she should “prepare herself as action would be taken against her.”

Hours after the speech, Khan was booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act for threatening police, judiciary and other state institutions at his rally.

He had challenged the case in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) where a two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the case.

Announcing the verdict, the bench ordered that after removal of charges under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, that proceedings on the other sections in the case would continue in the relevant forum.

Khan was also charged for violating Section 144 and later on other sections were added to the FIR, including Section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 186 (imprisonment for three months), and 188 (disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

After deletion of the man anti-terrorism charges, the case has lost steam. However, Khan is not out of the woods as yet as IHC is also proceeding against him in contempt of court on the basis of the same remarks against the female judge.

Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

The cricketer-turned-politician, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

Earlier, an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad extended the PTI chief’s bail last week in the terrorism case against him until September 20.

Khan has also repeatedly not appeared before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing into the case registered against him under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) at a police station in Islamabad.  (PTI)