ATC judge grants protection to President Alvi under Article 248 (2) of Constitution

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ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has granted protection to the President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi and adjourned cases against him pertaining to the Parliament and Pakistan Television (PTV) attacks during the 2014 sit-ins in the capital.

ATC judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi has granted protection to President Alvi under Article 248 (2) of the Constitution and the case has been “adjourned sine die” – with no appointed date for resumption. In the order, Judge Zaidi stated that Alvi is entitled for protection because he was elected and has taken oath as the President of Pakistan.

Since, the judge stated, the law of land gives protection to President from criminal proceedings, therefore, proceedings against Alvi are adjourned sine die and court will resume proceedings against him after expiry of his term in office.

Under clause (2) of the Article 248 (Protection to President, Governor, Minister, etc), “no criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or a Governor in any Court during his term of office.”

Interestingly, counsel for the President, Muhammad Ali Bokhari, said he was not aware of any such order because he has not sought any such relief from ATC. While talking to media Bokhari said that the case was not fixed for hearing on Wednesday; the next date of hearing is October 1 and if the court has passed any such order on the previous date of hearing, it was not in his knowledge.

“I have been instructed by the presidency to file an acquittal appeal on the next date of hearing,” he said, adding that he would file acquittal appeal on October 1. Nonetheless, he said, law provides protection to the president.

Earlier, ATC had confirmed interim pre-arrest bails to the leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Dr Alvi, Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shafqat Mehmood, and Raja Khurram Nawaz in the Parliament and Pakistan Television (PTV) attack cases. In the cases, leaders and over a hundred workers and supporters of the PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) were booked. The workers, who were arrested, were later released on bail in the cases. On August 31, 2014, in an attempt to topple the PML-N government, PTI and PAT workers had marched on the parliament and the PM House while clashing with policemen along the way.

On September 1, 2014, hundreds of men, allegedly protesters from the PTI and PAT camps, had ransacked the PTV office, parliament premises. Imran, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri and several others were booked over their alleged involvement in the attack.

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