PESHAWAR: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Islamabad on Tuesday issued non-bailable arrest warrant for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai in a case pertaining to attacks on the state-run TV and Parliament House.
The arrest warrant of Shaukat Yousafzai has been issued as he never appeared before the court despite several summons in the PTV and Parliament House attack case of 2014. The ATC ordered that the provincial minister be arrested and presented before it.
Similar arrest warrants have been issued for 26 more activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on similar charges. However, the court granted exemption to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PTI leader Jehangir Tareen, Finance Minister Asad Umar and Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood for personal appearance in the court.
The hearing of the case has been adjourned till 28 March. During the next hearing, the court will hear pleas on acquittal of President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan in the case.
In 2014, the PTI, then in opposition, staged a 104-day long sit-in in Islamabad to pursue its demand of probe into alleged rigging in the general elections of 2013. The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) led by Dr Tahirul Qadri also joined the sit-in and demanded action against people involved in the Model Town carnage.
The state machinery in Islamabad was severely affected during the 104-day sit-in. During the protests, the protesters also allegedly attacked the Parliament House and PTV buildings and beat up SSP Asmatullah Junejo.
A request by Imran Khan to shift the cases to the civil court has already been rejected by the ATC.
Shaukat Yousafzai is an important leader of the PTI in KP and is considered very close to Imran Khan. He was seen standing close to Imran Khan during the dharna (sit-in) days. At one occasion, only one person was standing on the container with Imran Khan when he was addressing the protesters, and that one person was Shaukat Yousafzai.
Meanwhile, an accountability court indicted the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former federal minister Dr Arbab Alamgir and his wife and former MNA Asma Alamgir in a case of assets beyond means.
In the indictment process, the matter of foreign properties owned by the couple was not included. The court also summoned witnesses of the case in the next hearing.